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energy wise ■


Around the clock appliances New models continue to use energy, even when turned off.


BY JOHN DRAKE COOPERATIVE ENERGY ADVISOR


If you’ve bought an appliance lately, you know they don’t just cook your food, wash your clothes, or offer a few hours of entertainment. Nowadays, they offer a multitude of extra bells and whistles designed to make our lives easier, but they also consume more energy.


While appliances today are much more energy efficient, few of them ever truly shut down anymore. And as we add more and more electronic devices to our households—25 on average says the Consumer


electronic devices are doing that, it can add up quicker than you think. The U.S. Department of Energy says it can make up as much as 10 percent of your bill.


“The DOE says leaving your cable box plugged in for a year and never turning it off adds, on average, $17.83 to your electric bill. Toss in a DVR function and that total jumps to $43.46.”


Electronics Association—much more energy is consumed.


Take a phone charger as an example. Leaving it plugged in without a phone attached doesn’t mean it’s not drawing power. In fact, it uses 0.26 watts of electricity even when the phone isn’t connected, and 2.24 watts when the handset is charging!


Of course, that 0.26 watts by itself might not be a big issue. But if most of your


If you’re still skeptical, take a look around your house. How many cords are plugged in? Of those, how many are actually attached to a device? You might be surprised at how much electricity your family consumes, even when you don’t realize it.


Cable boxes are a big culprit of 24/7 energy use. The DOE says leaving your


cable box plugged


in for a year and never turning it off adds, on average, $17.83 to your electric bill. Toss in a DVR function and that total jumps to $43.46.


And electronics aren’t the only problem. Basic appliances like clothes washers and dryers, refrigerators, and dishwashers are so savvy these days that you can program them to come on when you aren’t even home. Here again, the bigger you go with a new appliance, the more energy it will use.


GE’s new dishwasher allows consumers to run a cycle on just the top or bottom rack so favorite items are clean and sanitized when they want them. But consumers must remember to use these energy-saving settings to see savings on their electric bill.


The good news is your electric bills don’t have to be held hostage by this 24-hour-a- day energy use. For starters, use a power strip to turn several electronics on or off at once. For a bigger investment, look into “smart” power strips. These handy devices will allow you to cut power to certain appliances—say, your TV—while letting power flow to your cable box because it takes time to reboot after being unplugged.


If you’re shopping for a new appliance, be sure to look for an ENERGY STAR model. It may be priced a bit higher but it generally consumes less power all around— and uses less standby energy.


ENERGY EFFICIENCY Tip of the Month


Properly installed shades can be one of the most effective ways to use your windows for energy effi- ciency. Lower shades during summer and, in winter, raise them during the day and lower back at night on south-facing windows. Dual shades, with reflec- tive white coating on one side and a heat-absorbing dark color on the other, can be reversed with the seasons and save even more energy. Learn more at EnergySavers.gov.


—US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


To help you afford the more efficient model, CEC offers low interest appliance loans to members. For details, contact Jia Johnson at 800-780-6486, ext. 241.


Finally, remember the energy saving features on your appliance are there to help you, but to see a real savings on your bill, you actually need to use them.


John Drake is your co-op energy use specialist. For questions about your energy usage or how to save energy, please contact John Drake or Mark Zachary at 800-780-6486, ext. 233.


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