Inefficient household products

American households spend $1 billion a year on energy that they are not even aware of consuming. No, not to fuel their cars or charge their ipods, but rather to keep their televisions and vcrs running at night- WHEN THESE DEVICES HAVE BEEN TURNED OFF! The energy needed to fuel such items amounts to 1000 kilowatt hours a year per household. The invention of the microchip has partly led to this phenomenon. It brought improvements over the traditional switch (in the form of a soft button) in that it was more durable and compact. The downside, however, is that the chip requires a steady flow electricity. Thus, even when home devices using this chip have been shut off, they are still sucking electricity out of the sockets, resulting in huge amounts of energy wasted. While there are more efficient alternatives available, they do not compete very well in the marketplace, especially since most consumers are unaware of this overnight energy use. There has been call from the most unlikey of places, notably the Bush administration, to increase the energy efficiency standards of such objects. The energy department had a meeting this week to discuss the implementation of energy standards in homes and California has already created such a program, to begin in 2006. As more and more electronics flood the home, it is important that consumers understand the energy implications of their actions, specifically that “off” does not neccessarily mean “off.”

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