Scoping study into standby energy use by domestic electronic appliances

Institute for Sustainable Futures
Publication Type:
1998, pp. 1 - 22
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Standby electricity use is the energy consumed by appliances when they are switched âoffâ and/or not performing their principal function but still drawing mains power. It is also known by the names âleaking electricityâ and âphantom loadsâ. Standby power levels have become an issue of concern in a number of other countries in recent years as the increasing number of appliances which are consuming electricity in the standby mode, often associated with remote control operation, has essentially created a new category of energy end use. It is estimated that the average household in the USA now constantly âleaksâ more than 50W. Rainer et al [1] found a selection of houses in the USA to be consuming between 53 and 115W with no appliances being used. Although this may sound like a small amount, when it is considered that most of these appliances are connected to the electricity supply continuously it amounts to an energy consumption level of about 450kWh per year. If standby levels are similar in Australia, and there is little reason to think they are not given lifestyles and the international nature of the market for these products, this represents 5-10% of the average householdâs electricity consumption. A recent for Energy Efficiency Victoria estimated loads of between 400 and 1500kWh per year [2]. NSW households are currently spending about $40m annually to keep TVs and VCRs in the standby mode. The majority of appliances with standby consumption at present fall into the categories of video, audio and communications equipment, such as TVs, VCRs, cable TV decoders, compact hi-fi systems and answer phones. Many of these appliances consume far more energy in standby than in actual use. For example, more than 80% of the energy consumption of a VCR is in standby and less than 20% when actually recording or playing back tapes [3].
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