Appliances on Standby Consume Electricity

Here’s an interesting article from Maritime Electric’s website about how 5% of electricity used in homes is now consumed by appliances in “standby” mode.


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on June 1, 2003 - 22:09 Permalink

Semi-related: why much microwave ovens have clocks in them/

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on June 2, 2003 - 13:48 Permalink

Curiously, I was wondering why my kitchen’s digital clock had a microwave attached to it.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 2, 2003 - 14:21 Permalink

I notice that the articles is headed by “The information in this article is condensed from a newsletter of CADDET Energy Efficiency published in Gittard, the Netherlands.”

The Dutch are far more automated/digitized/electrified than PEI given that it can be described as half the population of Canada live on a bog half the size of New Brusnwick and all — live’d there, love ‘em, amazed by ‘em. So, I wonder if the 5% is actually a transferrable stat.

I wonder if MECL would as easily accept Holland-sourced authority on wind power.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 2, 2003 - 15:30 Permalink

Alan: When Jim Lea had his public information session in the winter, one of the items he noted was that per capita energy usage in Prince Edward Island had gone up dramatically in recent years. One of the reasons he guessed this might be true is because of the increase in the use of this type of “standby” appliance.

Ken's picture
Ken on June 2, 2003 - 16:17 Permalink

What’s the alternative? Wind-up clocks and reprogramming the VCR every day?
I’d rather spend the 15 cents each day to keep these things running, I think it provides good value.

What about idling at a red light, drafty houses, and for that matter loss of energy in the distribution grid which is ten percent.

Tesla had a plan for electrical delivery that used a tower, but because there was no way to bill customers it was abandoned.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 2, 2003 - 16:57 Permalink

You are right, Peter. There are no “islands” of consumer technology in that sense. They are mass marketed. We all “need” a microwave, supposedly, so we get a clock with it because that is the only way they come. I use my microwave for two things. Warming my three year olds milk at night and his alphagetti at lunch. Will I need a microwave if he gives up thee habits. It is one of the most restricted, most expensive tools in the house.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 2, 2003 - 17:19 Permalink

I have never owned a microwave. I am afraid of them. I can’t trust something that heats food with no obvious source of heat; it’s too much like magic for my tastes.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on June 2, 2003 - 17:20 Permalink

Ken, the alternative is just more efficient “sleep” modes in appliances.

The article reads “It is technically feasible to reduce standby power in most cases to below one watt. This roughly equates to two-thirds reduction in today’s typical appliance. A target of one watt may not be economical in all situations but the trend is moving in that direction. New consumer electronics are now appearing with much lower power consumptions.”

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on June 2, 2003 - 17:22 Permalink

I’m with you on the microwave, Peter. I was given one, but use it very rarely. My soon-to-be-famous Microwave Freezer is another story.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 2, 2003 - 17:23 Permalink

I understand Garrity — on a daily basis — wears lead “pants” to overcome such fears.

Ken's picture
Ken on June 2, 2003 - 17:26 Permalink

Microwave cooking is more efficient than heating and preheating a conventional electric oven, but of course some things do get soggy in a microwave.

Refrigerators in winter are the most ludicrous expense, we pay to heat our home, then pay again to cool the refrigerator. A cold vent should be let into each fridge, so when it is cold enough outside it only needs to vent outside air to keep cool, which for January and February is all the time. Refrigerators are energy pigs especially old ones.


Lou Quillio's picture
Lou Quillio on June 2, 2003 - 20:04 Permalink

I’ll have you know, Steven, that I invented the microwave freezer in 1984, and will soon be bringing it to market. I sent $8,000 US to a well-connected guy in Chile’s manufacturing sector back then, and he’s been working on it day and night ever since. According to his monthly status reports there’s just one small wrinkle to work out with the built-in Creamsicle-maker and we’re good to go. Looks like I win this time. Sorry.

1984 was a high-concept year for me all around. Two cable TV channel ideas of mine from that year will soon appear on your dial.

Lou Quillio’s Swords and Sorcery Network (SNS) will rebroacast Schwartzenegger’s Conan movies, various Sheenas and Xenas and perennial favorite The Beastmaster on a 24-hour basis. We’ll have Tarzan Tuesdays (Crabbe, Weismuller and Ely, the Jungle Lord Trinity), Sinbad Sundays, and a home-shopping component with designer loincloths and broadswords at attractive prices. The best part? No original programming. Folks who’ve seen Beastmaster fifteen times will watch it another fifteen with very little prodding. Probably buy shit, too.

Pending the close of litigation with The Naked News, you can look forward to The Topless Weather Channel, an absolute natural for the Cliff Claven set. Apart from it’s obvious titular charms, TWC will feature a fresh set of weathercasting icons: can you guess the symbol for a cold front? And there’s a tagline. “The Weather You Need, The Tits You Love.” Seriously, why tune anywhere else?


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 2, 2003 - 20:05 Permalink

Ken, the conventional wisdom in the anti-nuclear movement in Ontario in the mid- to late-1980s was the if the Government of Ontario gave everyone in the Province a new refrigerator, they could avoid the need to build new generation at the Darlington nuclear plant entirely. Of course somehow it’s “right” for governments to build nuclear reactors, but crosses over into the domain of “infringing on private enterprise” when it comes to giving away refrigerators, so the idea never took off.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on June 2, 2003 - 20:35 Permalink

How can so many people whose creative genius appear to many of us as nothing short of magic be frightened by what seems to them to be hocus-pocus in a microwave oven???

Lordy, lordy…it seems so out of sorts…kinda like the Golden Bear fainting at each of his kids births, or an elephant running away from a mouse.

Justin's picture
Justin on June 3, 2003 - 03:24 Permalink

Why aren’t stand-by features solar powered these days. I’m anti-micro-wave too but I reheat tea in one at work occasionaly. If I cook or re-heat meats in them, especially fowl, the taste is unnerving if not unholy.