/ Technology

When it comes to tech, energy saving is a turn-off

One of my bad habits is that I don’t switch off the TV at the socket before I go to bed – it drives my husband insane. But, according to our latest survey, I’m not alone. Do you switch off your tech products at night?

It seems most of us leave technology products on at night. Of the 1,496 people we asked, 98% have a TV, 96% a printer and 80% a desktop PC (despite talk of the latter’s imminent demise).

Of those who own these, just 60% turn off their TV, 71% their printer and 60% their desktop computer at night.

In these times of spiralling energy costs, why aren’t more of us switching off our tech before we hop into bed?

Switching off is too much hassle

The main reason I don’t switch off is, like over half of our survey respondents, because it’s too much hassle to do so. Writing that here makes it sound like a poor excuse. Is it really too hard for me to take the few steps from the sofa to the TV’s plug socket?

Laziness is a poor excuse, but physical design is to blame too. As my colleague Al Warman wrote earlier this year, many TVs no longer come with a physical on/off switch – their power buttons will only put them in standby. This means that you’re forced to reach for the socket. And in our survey, around one in ten blamed the lack of a hard on/off switch for not turning off their tech at night.

The second most popular reason for not switching off is that four in ten believe that the amount of money saved will be minimal. And there’s some truth in that. Our tests reveal that most TVs consume less than 1.5 watts when in standby, meeting recommendations set out by the Energy Saving Trust.

A little energy goes a long way

While the savings may be small, it seems crazy not to switch off these devices at night. Even with the move towards energy-saving light bulbs the only light left on in our house at night is a small night light in my daughter’s bedroom.

This night light serves its purpose, whereas there’s absolutely no need for our TV, desktop and printer to stay on at night. I can’t remember the last time I engaged in a spot of late night printing, or web surfing for that matter.

And if you multiply the energy used by the 29% not switching off their printers, the 40% running all-night desktop computers and another 40% leaving their TVs on standby, it doesn’t take long to realise that collectively huge savings could be made.

With winter drawing near and my own energy bills set to rise I’ll be changing the habits of a lifetime and turning off my tech products at night. My husband will be delighted.

Comments
Member

There are some who are obsessed with this, some who don’t care at all and others who don’t give the matter a lot of thought.

The easiest solution is to try to get manufacturers to offer products without standby and with power switches that actually switch off the power. Many people look at the energy ratings for kitchen appliances, so why not do this for TVs etc?

Member

Let’s see, BT Homehub, NAS drive, TV, fridge, freezer, phone charger, PS3, microwave, boiler – all these items are left on or on standby in my flat every night.

Things like NAS and Homehub cannot be turned off as you want them to work immediately after you turn on your computer/phone/xbox/hifi etc. I would advise against turning off a fridge or freezer or a boiler too. 🙂

Realistically the only things I can switch off are the TV, the PS3 and the microwave (all currently on standby), but when all remaining things are left on or on standby, what’s the point?

Energy is cheaper at night anyway and 10p off my next bill isn’t really going to make any difference.

Member

Lets get realistic and keep a proper perspective on energy saving actions.
It gets things out of proportion to suggest huge savings on a “collective” basis if we all save the odd watt-hour here and there especially when turning on and off all these devices involves a lot of effort.
It would probably result in a significant increase in banged heads, broken items etc and actually cost more energy.

Driving very slightly slower, turning off the Central Heating for a few minutes a day or setting the hot-water temperature to a more realistic ( and safer) 50 degrees would save far far more energy with hardly any effort.

It is not helpful to push or publicize actions which reduce a tiny percentage of our energy consumption especially when they involve effort – it can result in many people thinking that they are doing their bit when in fact they are making no significant savings.

Member

Hot water needs to be at 60 or higher to kill off Legionnaire’s bacteria in the pipes / cylinder / boiler etc.

Other than that I absolutely agree with rarrar.

The savings in energy that will make a big difference are the ones that no one is prepared to make, such as all appliances being made with hard off (or no on off) switches so that the power really is cut off (or you are forced to pull he plug out) or shops, offices and businesses being forced to switch off heating between May and October as it always used to be, and air con at all times the heating is on. How often do you find that in a shop or other public building there is heating blasting out unwanted warmth in summer, with e doors open and someone say on top of an air con unit trying to keep cool? It’s certainly a very common occurrence everywhere I have worked.

Of course small savings at home are worthwhile – they cannot be counter-productive – but they will never ever result in the scale of savings that are so desperately needed.

Member

I wonder why people seem to be adverse to a bit of “effort”? Doesn’t take long to switch off and it really is only a matter of forming a habit.

Member
Groucho says:
19 August 2017

Because people in the UK have become lazy and spoilt. When you see them parking in disabled places, to save a walk. When rubbish is dropped instead of being taken home. I could go on, but people really are spoilt. I do not know what will put things right. I do a cleaning job, and see monitors, printers, PC’s, shredders, all left on at night. I see a dishwasher with eight mugs in, because someone is too lazy to wash them. If you see what is thrown away at the local ‘recycling centre’, then you will know that people are spoilt.

Member

A little warning about turning off your router. Recently I upgraded to ADSL 2+ but my download speed halved rather than doubled; I found that BT had put a cap on the line because I was turning my router off when not in use and overnight and that this registered as some sort of a a line fault to them The only way that I am able to maintain the available download speed is by leaving my router switched on 24/7. So much for BT`s contribution to energy saving

Member

Thanks for the warning. I was planning to put a timer on my router this evening, but I will carry on wasting electricity for a little longer.

What I was told (and it was not in writing) was that over the first week the maximum reliable speed would be negotiated, though I was not asked to leave the router on all the time. I was not happy and after the third phone call, something magical happened and the speed increased about threefold. Incidentally,

My neighbour turns the router off every night and gets the same speed as I do. I am not with BT.