The Little Things Add Up: Saving With Consumer Electronics

June 29, 2015

Summer can be a fun break from the daily grind, full of trips to the beach, backyard barbeques, and graduation parties. After the party, however, comes the reality of preparing for the next school year. It’s an exciting time, but can be overwhelming—especially since helping grads and students prepare for the next phase of their education is a little different than it was a few years ago. Stores now have registries for back to school shopping that start in July, lunch boxes have evolved from tin to plastic to fabric, and electronics for use in the classroom have gone from wish list items to absolute necessities.

You’ve come a long way, computers

As computers, monitors, and laptops became more popular in the past decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® Program took action to encourage greater energy efficiency in these workplace and school staples. The results have been impressive: for example, from 2006 to 2011, energy consumption for ENERGY STAR certified desktops dropped 44 percent, compared to a 38 percent decrease in consumption for standard desktop models. Other electronics, especially televisions, experienced similar results in efficiency gains during this time span. The energy consumption of an ENERGY STAR certified 42-inch TV decreased by 68 percent.

With such impressive innovations in energy efficiency for electronics, many more efficient products can be found in stores. ENERGY STAR certified electronics use up to 60 percent less energy than standard models. While replacing a major appliance like an old washing machine or refrigerator with a more efficient model is known for achieving big energy savings, the incremental gains from using ENERGY STAR electronics in your home can add up to significant savings too. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a home outfitted with ENERGY STAR certified electronics can save more than $200 on electricity costs over the products’ lifetime.

Power only what you use

When it comes to electronics, remember that they can consume energy whether they’re turned on or off. Purchasing the most efficient electronics possible is the best way to save energy when electronics devices are being used (in the “on” mode), as we’ve discussed above.

If you’re looking for even more savings from your electronics, try to save the energy that is wasted when they are in the “off” mode, which means they are plugged in but not being actively used. devices with remote controls and clocks consume electricity even when turned off because they remain in standby mode so they can be used when desired. This standby power accounts for $100 in wasted energy annually, some of which can be offset by using an advanced power strip.

Let’s say you have a number of devices plugged into the same power strip. We probably all have one of these hidden behind our entertainment centers: a TV, game console, and DVD player all plugged in together. Advanced power strips are able to eliminate standby power loss to the products that don’t need to be in standby mode, like the game console or DVD player, when you’re not using the main product on the same power strip (in this case, the TV).

Advanced power strips are also equipped with a few outlets that allow your devices that must operate continuously — like your cable box, modem, and router — to stay on while those other “as needed” devices are powered down. With these smart energy-saving features, using an advanced power strip can help save you $150 over five years.

This summer, when you begin your back to school shopping for electronics, remember to look for the ENERGY STAR. Click here to find a store near you that carries them. While we can’t bring back the tin A-Team lunch box from your youth, Mass Save can help you accumulate all the energy savings possible throughout your home. We offer great deals on advanced power strips and can help you find the most efficient computers, monitors, and televisions available. 

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