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Slay vampires, cut costs

Posted by on Thursday, October 28, 2010 in Energy, News.

by Missy Pankake

[Originally published in MyVU]

This year for Halloween, consider doing some vampire slaying.

No, not vampires with fangs and capes that turn into bats (or sparkle), but the kind that you can find in your office or at home – vampire power.

Vampire power is the wasted energy caused by electronics that are turned off, but still plugged in, meaning it is still drawing a small amount of electricity. This is especially true if it is a device that electronic equipment with standby capability, a remote control and/or a digital clock display (such as photocopiers, computer monitors televisions, microwaves, DVD players and stereo systems).

Granted, each cord is drawing a small amount of electricity, but start adding that up by the thousands of Vanderbilt employees, and it becomes a significant amount of wasted energy.

“Addressing energy vampires is just one more way that we save energy, save money and reduce our emissions,” said Andrea George, director of the Vanderbilt Sustainability and Environmental Management Office. “Everyone working together can make a real difference.”

And that includes at home as well: between 5-10 percent* of your electric bill each month could be caused by energy vampires.

Slaying these vampires is easy: unplug whatever you’re not using. Come on over to the dark side!

Slay Vampires at the Office:

  • Activate sleep modes on your computer and other office electronics like photocopiers, printers and scanners during the day.
  • Plug your office equipment into a surge protector. Shut down the equipment and turn off the surge protector at night.
  • Turn off lights when you are not using an area of the office during the day, and do a lighting sweep before leaving.
  • Unplug your phone or mp3/iPod/e-reader charger when you are not charging your phone.

Slay Vampires at Home. Turn off and unplug:

  • Your hand-held vacuum in its charging station
  • Power drills
  • Automatic coffee makers
  • The VCR you haven’t used in nearly a decade
  • The TV that’s collecting dust in the guest room
  • The empty refrigerator in the garage

Note: some devices such as battery backup systems, cable boxes and computer network servers must be left on at all times to ensure proper functioning.

For more information on what appliances draw what energy while plugged in, check out the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory website at

For more information on saving energy (and money) at Vanderbilt, visit the SustainVU website at

Contact: SustainVU

*According to research conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


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