An epidemic devastating millions of households in the UK everyday without their knowing is phantom loading, better known as vampire energy. Vampire energy, which is the consumption of energy by appliances left idle or on standby, is especially notorious while we are away at work or sound asleep.
According to a recent survey conducted by Schneider Electric, 77 million appliances are left on or on standby in the UK everyday, which if put into perspective can be translated into potential savings of as much as £100 per household per year if switched off.
Despite an increased awareness of the negative impacts of excessive energy use across the UK, a recent report reveals that almost half of the British population still believes these savings are not worth the effort of changing their energy behaviour at home.
In addition, a growing proportion of UK households are also now turning their attention to converting their traditional, low-tech homes into connected homes by investing in smart home tech. In fact, it is predicted that by 2021, a typical smart home will be equipped with an average of 8.7 devices. GreenMatch created an infographic to present why smart devices may not be energy-smart and what we can do about this.
Smart devices have been found to consume considerably more energy on standby than their "dumber" counterparts. For instance, a stand-alone Smart TV consumes 10 times more power than a standard TV set.
Perhaps the biggest reason why devices like the Smart TV harbour additional energy, is because of the extra features embedded in them, namely their internet connectivity, which rely on having a modem or router that is never turned off.
There is evidence to suggest that wireless routers can cost the average UK household approximately £22 a year if never turned off (a whopping 1/5 - 1/4 of the potential savings stated earlier), making it one of the least economical devices to run in the home.
As more and more UK households become aware of the benefits of IoT and start to replace current devices with connected products, it is important that we also do our due diligence, fully understand how these devices can also affect the energy consumption of our homes, and do our bit to ensure our homes remain energy efficient.