As the cost-of-living crisis takes its toll and families look for every opportunity to cut their bills, headlines suggesting consumers could save hundreds of dollars by simply unplugging unused chargers was a tempting prospect. But experts say such “vampire device” claims are actually more like zombie statistics. “Since these studies were first done, things have improved dramatically,” said Craig Melson, Associate Director for Climate, Environment and Sustainability at techUK. “Processors have become low power, screens have moved from LCD to LED technology, refrigerators and washing machines have become more efficient. It’s just that the technology has become smaller, more efficient, uses better processors, and most importantly, they are also more adaptable. “.
A recent report by British Gas stated that “British people can … save an average of £110 per household per year at the flick of a switch”. The energy supplier said 23% of UK electricity bills were caused by “vampire electronics that continue to consume power when left on standby”. But that statistic comes from a 2015 National Defense Research Council report based on an analysis of homes in California.
“Think of a laptop you used 10 years ago,” Melson says. You may need a big ugly connector in the middle, a big transformer. In general, now you can just plug them directly into USB-C – it’s much more efficient. from the point of view of energy, there is no need to withdraw energy.”
In addition to being seven years old and reliant on energy from another country, some of the suggested savings may be difficult for consumers to implement: One-third of the “always-on” electronics identified in the study are “circulation pumps, ponds, aquariums and goggles.” Protected sales in bathrooms, kitchens and garages.” Consumers who turn off their tank at night can save money, but their fish may object. Other devices included in the 23% figure remain included because they are designed to run all the time: Wi-Fi routers and electric heaters or air conditioners increase a home’s electricity consumption but still provide benefits. More importantly, Melson notes, American consumers are not subject to a series of European regulations that have reduced energy consumption for British consumers.
He said: “The Ecodesign Directive, a European regulation, has led to changes in design throughout the industry. It’s much more regulated and business practices have evolved.”
The US report, which first found the 23% figure, also highlights the benefits of European regulation: “The European standard addresses much of the idling load problem noted in this study,” US researchers say. Other allegations of “vampire devices” go even further. In October, the UK’s Energy Saving Trust claimed the PS35’s modest savings from the annual shutdown of redundant devices, citing a 2013 report that in turn explained the power consumption of devices including the VCR, which was largely discontinued in 2004, and The PlayStation 2, first released in 2000. Melson says that for consumers who want to save power, it’s best to look at “eco-mode” settings on devices like TVs and game consoles, turning off features like auto-update to further reduce standby usage.