A year or so ago, as part of ruralnet|uk‘s response to climate change, we bought two Electrisave devices for employees to borrow. They were quite expensive at the time but you can get them for about £50 now. Look on Google for suppliers. ruralnet|uk is blogging its efforts here.
The Electrisave system comes in two bits: a transmitter that you attach to the cable coming into your electricity meter (see image below) and the receiver (opposite).
Each bit uses 4 x AA batteries (use rechargable ones). The system is wireless so you can put the meter anywhere you like or carry it around with you. The meter gives you a read out of the amount of electricity you are using in real time. Switch a light off and the reading goes down. It has 3 modes: kWatts; Pence and CO2.
It is very effective at raising awareness of your electricity consumption and so drives you to use less. My colleague, Duncan was the first to borrow the device and got quite obsessive. He reports that his wife nearly divorced him for bringing the meter to bed and reading it by the light of his mobile phone while cursing . . . "what is it that’s consuming 200 watts!"
I’m amazed that with every light socket in our house stuffed with a low energy light bulb (and switched off) it seems that we have background consumption of 200 watts with nothing apparently switched on!
This weekend I’m going to investigate further to try and find out what is causing this ‘background consumption’ and try to stop it.
We should have a ruralnet|uk competition – who’s got the lowest background hum (and I’m not talking about who has the most showers!).
My house now has a night time hum of 50 watts! Must be things like the boiler standby, cooker clock, electronic thermostats (11 of them!) that are inevitably always on.
Sometimes the Electrisave makes it hard to see how much juice one individual item is pulling. So if you use the Electrisave along with a power monitor plug, you can become really obsessive like me! See http://ecocred.wordpress.com/2006/11/15/power-monitor-plug/
I went round my house over the course of a few weeks with one of these monitor plugs and measured a whole heap of devices in daily operation (microwave, hifi, lamps, washing machine etc). Unfortunately, my wife and I had to undergo intensive marriage guidance counselling after this last trick – but we’re alright now though!
Seeing the results from our fridge almost gave me a heart attack (it is a 10 year-old fridge, but I’d already fitted a Savaplug so it worked out to be costing about £60 per year to run – which is apparently average)! See http://ecocred.wordpress.com/2006/11/22/savaplug/
Interestingly (and contrary to media nonsense), none of our phone chargers drew ANY power when not charging a phone.
I guess it could be true that if a power adapter is cold, then its not drawing any current.