Oct 232019
 

In folklore, vampires are undead creatures feeding on blood from the living.  In reality, our homes are well-stocked with energy vampires – electronic devices that drain power even where they’re not in use and that can suck up to 10% of your monthly bill, according to Mary Pat Baldauf (in photo).  She’s the City of Columbia’s sustainability facilitator and was Capital Rotary’s Oct. 23 guest speaker.  Energy vampires are easy to spot because they (1) use an external power supply; (2) may include a remote control; (3) have a continuous display or LED status light; (4) may contain a battery charger; and (5) can feature a soft-touch key pad.  Common examples include cable/satellite boxes; DVR, VCR, DVD players; mobile phone devices; video game consoles; and standby coffee makers.  Baldauf said “slaying” energy vampires might be as simple as pulling the plug, especially for devices not used very often.  Other remedies are (1) making use of energy-saving features — such as sleep mode — commonly built into electronics; (2) plugging into smart power strips that automatically cut the current when devices are not in use.; and (3) replacing old or broken products with ones that are more energy efficient and have a lower than average standby consumption rate.  Baldauf noted that none of these strategies will eliminate power bills altogether, but a few small steps over time will save money.  A University of South Carolina graduate, Baldauf engages residents, businesses and city employees in environmental and climate protection initiatives.

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