Battling “Vampire Energy” at the DC Energy Expo

Did you know a plasma TV can add an extra $160 – and 1,452 kilowatts – to your electric bill each year? That’s just when its turned off.

So-called “vampire energy,” the power household appliances use when turned off but still plugged into an an electrical outlet, costs U.S. consumers an estimated $3 billion a year.  And, think about the climate-changing greenhouse gas bill!

Last Saturday’s 14th Energy Expo – 2009 at the Washington Convention Center showcased plenty of products that promise to, erhh …, drive a stake through vampire energy.  Here’s a rundown on a few that caught my eye:

The Green Switch, which has the endorsement of Actor/Eco-warrior Ed Begley, Jr., is typically installed near the front door, so you can shut off all the lights in your house with one flip. There were also “smart” power strips on display which serve a similar purpose, but do it one outlet at a time. Here’s a nifty video explaining smart strips.

I didn’t spend much time with the dealers in solar panels and energy efficient windows, since there is already so much information out there on those two subjects. But, suffice it to say, solar prices have come down dramatically since last year. And, right now, the federal government is offering $1,500 in tax credits to purchasers of energy efficient windows.

The Office of the People’s Counsel has more info on an array of local, state and federal tax credits that can help you reduce your carbon footprint and your bills.

There was a lot of wind about wind power, as well. Washington Gas Energy Services was promoting its CleanSteps program. Meanwhile, a sales rep from the upstart Clean Currents, a 3-year-old Rockville green power broker, promised to actually save you money if you sign up today and lock in current low rates for its wind-generated electricity.

For businesses, SilverSoft, Inc. is giving away its Green Lights software program for free. The program allows you to calculate the cost of, say, changing all the light bulbs in your building or adding light sensors. It also lets you compare the upfront investment to monthly energy bill savings to figure out how long it would take to pay off such improvements. SilverSoft’s president Carl Bergman gave me a quick demonstration and it seemed pretty easy to use. If you’d like to download a copy, you can find it here.


About greendistrict

I'm Christine MacDonald, a journalist and the author of the book: "Green, Inc., An Environmental Insider Reveals How a Good Cause Has Gone B

Posted on November 16, 2009, in Carbon footprint, Environment, Green Building and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Very good article, I’m checking out the SilverSoft, Green Lights now, thanks

    You could use a BITS Smart Surge Protector they are less then $40 and they eliminate the vampire energy from devices that are plugged into it.
    Smart power strips allow you to plug in devices that should never turn off, and turns other devices off automatically. It’s pretty cool

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