Switched Off but Not Unplugged

(Paris) — 5 June 2001

A growing number of electrical devices draw power 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Much of this energy is used when the product is not actually being used by the consumer, but in "standby mode": switched off, but not unplugged. This accounts for up to 13 per cent of residential electricity use in some OECD Member countries. It is the equivalent of a 60-watt bulb operating continuously in each OECD household. As electronic devices increasingly dominate the home and the office, it is urgent to cut standby power consumption.


This is possible. Using cost-effective technologies and design changes, standby power consumption can be reduced about 75 per cent. A new International Energy Agency (IEA) publication Things That Go Blip in the Night : Standby Power and How to Limit It examines the problem posed by growing standby power consumption, as more appliances are equipped with remote-control, network-sensing and digital-display features.


The publication explores the technologies available to reduce this unnecessary energy consumption and shows how increased collaboration among industry, national governments and international organisations can help. International collaboration is essential, since so many electronic products and components are traded among countries. Things That Go Blip in the Night describes test procedures, standards and voluntary efforts that could benefit manufacturers by reducing costs and barriers to trade, and enable consumers to reduce their electricity bills.

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