The environmental benefits of rechargeable batteries is undeniable. But recent reports on how “vampire electronics” — devices and cables that are left plugged in on a regular basis — can waste much more energy and money than what rechargeable batteries can save.
Once consumers get past the initial “sticker shock” of rechargeable batteries’ price tag, it becomes apparent that a quality set of rechargeables can save you a lot of money. 3 AA rechargeable batteries, which might run you AUD$21.99, pay for themselves after just a few recharges. Battery chargers can be a bit expensive at the outset, but it doesn’t take long before your battery charger becomes a money- and environment-saving machine.
However, no matter how good your environmental and money-saving intentions are in investing in rechargeable batteries and battery chargers, “vampire electronics” can erase any savings that you might gain from using renewable energy in your electronics.
According to MyDesert:
Nationwide, idle gadgets collectively consume more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year [in the U.S.]. That adds up to an extra $10 billion in energy costs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency . . . You can easily trim $100 or more off of your bill each year. All you have to do is slay your vampire electronics.
Many people assume that when a mobile phone or other device is unplugged from its charger — or when electronics like televisions and stareos are turned off — that they stop using electricity. However, the fact is that for as long as devices are plugged into power outlets, they are drawing on electricity. Only outlets that can be switched off by a wall switch can truly cut off the flow of electricity.
In this way, even a rechargeable battery charger — the same charger meant to save you money — could be sucking up a lot of your electric bill each month.
Of course, there is a very simple and easy fix for the effect of vampire electronics — unplug them when not in use. This, of course, is not always convenient — especially with computers and televisions, which get a lot of daily use and need to be easily accessible. But computer workstations and television/entertainment systems are notoriously bad when it comes to vampire energy drain. To facilitate unplugging the devices, installing a wall switch can make it a lot easier to get into the habit of truly turning off the devices.
For other electronics like battery chargers, generally they do not need to be used all the time, and as a result can be unplugged without too much inconvenience.