Vampire electronics return from the dead to suck juice
November 9, 2007
“Vampire electronics” rise from the news grave in Time Magazine’s Nov 12 print edition. Is it some weird connection between Kirsty Swanson’s 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer role and her fight against a voltage-eating monster 2006’s The Black Hole?
No, it’s all about … “Unused appliances, like cell-phone chargers and coffeemakers, that quietly suck up electricity when left plugged into sockets. Constant consumers, they spike electric bills and put more strain on the nation’s power grid.”
The news content has been drained by time (see more), but at least it’s reminded me to switch my mobile charger off.
CONTEXT An estimated 5% of U.S. electricity – or $4 billion a year – is wasted by appliances on standby mode, and the Department of Energy says that figure could rise to 20% by 2010.
USAGE California legislators passed the Vampire Slayers Act, which will detail how much energy certain appliances can use. Legislation aside, individuals can easily cut down on their energy consumption by investing in government-backed Energy Star appliances or new technologies that closely monitor their home’s energy use. In the meantime, simply switching off power-strip cords every night will make a huge difference.
Source: Briefing – LEXICON – vampire electronics (Nov. 02, 2007).
The story has an odd history, covered in dust.
The California Vampire Slayer Act of 2006 was widely reported when it passed through California’s Assembly on May 30th, 2006. It was intendedto “[r]equire[s] a manufacturer of an appliance sold in California to place a power content label on the products that shows the energy consumption and its annual operations costs when the appliance is turn[ed] (sic) on, turned off, or is in standby mode.”
But searching the California State Senate’s Bill Information for both 2005 and 2007 sessions, for Bill number AB 1970, indicates that it became inactive – not so much undead, as unborn – on November 30th, 2006.
Science Buddies asked, How Many Power-Hungry VAMPIRES Exist in Your Home? and presented a project to build a home-made Vampire Watt Meter. Unfortunately they didn’t quite get the project right – so don’t do it unless you’re willing to get your teeth stuck into the project.
In the UK, Times Online reported that TV standby buttons will be outlawed (July 12, 2006). Whatever happened to that?
More recently, blogger Wheatsheaf offers Ontario’s incoming Energy Minister, Gerry Phillips, a suggestion for the Ontario Vampire Slayer Act (which he calls Buffy’s Law for short).
So, a serious issue disappears into obscurity.