Phantom Power – A Follow-Up

Once the Energy Diet Challenge lights dimmed, the combination of Randy’s lack of electronic distractions and my determination to maintain our low energy use meant the tension at the Doyle-Begg house could be cut with a knife. A compromise was needed and fast!

We had unplugged pretty much every phantom power culprit and now had to find a middle ground that could be sustainable for the long term. Admittedly, when we began the Challenge we knew our “”technology”” would be the toughest habit to break, and so we have put in place a few energy-saving devices and practices that have kept our consumption low, while not driving Randy to distraction.

The “”Big TV”” and all its accoutrements is still connected to a light switch that is turned off when not in use. The rest have been put on power bars – Randy’s favourite power bar has a remote control!

Laptops that were once left plugged-in 24/7 and usually in sleep mode, are now plugged-in only when they are low in battery power. The best way to break us of this nasty habit was to actually move the laptop to different locations – and really, how is a laptop portable if it is tethered to a wall plug all the time?

We are equally vigilant with cell phone chargers, only using them when phones need to be charged. Then, we unplug and put them away as soon as the charge is complete. I have even gotten into the habit of charging my cell phone off my computer when I am using it (or even in the car while running errands). I am not sure this is a big energy saver but figure since the computer is on anyway,  I am killing two birds with one stone.

Randy has become accustomed to not having a clock in every room and we are still using the vintage telephones we rustled up for the Challenge. The coffee maker and electric toothbrushes are no longer left plugged-in all the time, even the stereo amplifier is unplugged after each use. All the unplugging has become second nature – a new Energy Diet Habit so to speak.

As I write this post, the only electronic hum in the house is that of the refrigerator fan coming on and it reminds me of a conversation/argument I had with our electrician during the construction of our house. After going over our electrical drawings, he announced we exceeded the number of plugs allowed in specific rooms and we would have to eliminate some in order to meet code. How could we do this? Each plug was carefully considered, what gadget going where, which lamp and alarm clock… Our decor and home’s aesthetic was being compromised! Our lifestyle infringed upon! The negotiation process went on for days: move this plug to this wall, add a second outlet here, hide an extra in the island “”just in case””. We did manage to cut some but, for the most part, we simply juggled their distribution around to cheat and beat the standard building code. And now all I can say is: “”Wow! how things have changed””.


Image: Wild Wire Blog