Many of us are guilty of leaving an appliance on standby, either because we know we’ll need to use it again soon, or someone else will. Standby power can be convenient, but did you know it can also be quite costly for your business?

What is standby power?

Standby power refers to the energy drawn by an appliance when not in use. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘phantom power’ or ‘vampire power’. 

Consuming electricity even when the appliance is turned off can sometimes cost more than you realise. Most appliances only draw a small amount of power, but when you have multiple appliances on standby mode, it can add up. 

A quick easy test to know if an appliance or device is using energy, if you can feel heat coming from it, this means it is drawing energy. 

How much electricity does standby power use?

Having multiple appliances on standby can be costly. Appliances not in use but still using electricity can cost up to 10 percent of your electricity bills.

Some appliances use ‘passive standby’ mode. This is where the appliance is plugged in, but turned off. These appliances include ovens and air conditioners, and typically only use minimal power when in standby mode.

Other appliances use ‘active standby’ mode, which can be more costly. This can require more complex energy consumption, for example, game consoles and voice-activated smart systems use more power to run on standby. 

How to reduce standby power?

When it comes to standby power, while it can be quietly costing your business a lot of money, luckily there are some quick and easy ways to reduce this energy sucker. 

Where possible, turning appliances off at the power outlet and even unplugging them when not in use will prevent them from continuing to draw energy. 

Using energy saving power boards will cut power to appliances that have been inactive for a period of time. Intelligent powerpoint adapters detect when an appliance goes into standby mode and block the power from the wall. 

Upgrade your older office appliances to more efficient appliances with good energy ratings and energy saving features. When checking the efficiency of an appliance, they will generally provide information regarding how much power they use when in standby mode. While low standby power cost is good, the overall efficiency of the appliance can make the most difference. 

Investing in smart devices can also help office appliances run more efficiently and cut down on energy consumption. Set up timers to automatically turn off certain appliances at set times to prevent equipment being left on longer than necessary.

What uses the most standby power?

The truth is that some appliances will use more power than others, even when in standby mode. Identifying the main standby power consumption culprits within your business can help you reduce energy costs. 

Remote-controlled appliances can be big culprits as they are generally ready to respond to the remote. Appliances that have clock displays can also use more energy when not in use. 

The big energy suckers tend to be older appliances and devices. Inefficient appliances constantly left on standby will contribute significantly to your electricity costs. Newer appliances often have better energy efficiency even when in standby mode. 

For additional ways to save on energy use within your business, check out our recent blog on understanding the energy rating of your office appliances