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LEAKING ELECTRICITY ESTIMATES
Following is a table of the electricity leaking from selected electronic consumer appliances, prepared for Science News Online by Jennifer Thorne and Margaret Suozzo of the Washington, D.C.-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The reported figures present only a portion of the whole picture--even for just the residential sector. For instance, the personal computers, printers, scanners, and related peripherals that are becoming ubiquitous in U.S. households do not appear here.
The first column of numbers gives the total cumulative U.S. estimate for leaks--in watts (W)--for each type of appliance, based on measurements that were made with representative appliances by any of several research organizations, such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Florida Solar Energy Center, the European Union, and Home Energy magazine.
The next column estimates an annual total, based on typical usage patterns for those appliances. Numbers are given in terawatt-hours (TWh). For perspective, one TWh of electricity can light 800,000 homes. Indeed, Thorne and Suozzo note, "leaking electricity from the items in this chart alone could light 25,984,000 homes." In terms of greenhouse-gas concerns, for each TWh of electricity that fossil-fueled power plants generate, they spew some 0.185 million metric tons of carbon into the air. So, the appliances reported in this chart are responsible for more than 6 million metric tons of U.S. carbon emissions.
The third column of numbers roughly estimates the share of an appliances total electricity use represented by standby consumption. Where its been noted as merely "high," data do not yet exist to allow a more accurate estimation. However, such devices typically tend to be in use or to be drawing power to recharge batteries only a very small fraction of the total time they are plugged in.
The numbers reported here represent some of the data being collected and analyzed by Thorne and Suozzo for "Leaking Electricity: Standby and Off-mode Power Consumption in Consumer Electronics and Household Appliances," an ACEEE report due out in December.
|Power Use||U.S. total||% of total|
|Telephone Answering Devices||3.2||1.84||High|
|Portable Stereos (boomboxes)||2.2||1.34||88%|
|Compact Audio Systems||9.0||4.02||93%|
|Rack Audio Systems||4.0||1.83||61%|
|Digital Satellite Systems||13.8||0.76||83%|
|Shavers, Men's and Women's||2.5||1.02||High|
|Hand Held Massagers||2.0||0.22||High|
|Home Care and Maintenance|
|Cordless Hand Vacuums||1.7||0.32||High|
|Home Security and Protection|
|Garage Door Openers||6.0||1.41||High|
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