Let us find out if it is worth investing for appliances with low standby power. Before anything else, we will define what standby power is. Standby power is the real power consumed by the appliances when not in use. Supposing you have a TV then you get the remote control to turn it off, the power the TV consumed during this time is so called standby power. The remote control did not totally remove the power source from your TV. Another term for standby power sometimes is sleep mode power. In some other devices it is called as power saving mode such as in modern computers and monitors.
Below table was a survey conducted late 1999 indicating the standby power in watts of every appliance. The table showing the minimum, maximum and average standby power per appliance.
The minimum value in the table is most likely a high end design or a newly purchased appliance. On the other hand low end design or old appliances may be fall to the maximum column.
When you did not use your TV and let it sleep or enter standby mode, it can dissipate maximum 22W of power (or lesser if the model is latest and high end design). You are not using your TV but still your electric meter is running due to this standby power.
Imagine if you have several appliances and you just let it sleep or enter power saving mode when you not use it; the power dissipation will accumulate and this will become relevant to your monthly electric bill. If you are not practicing unplugging appliances when not in use; better purchase an appliance with a very low standby power. Appliances with very low standby power may cost higher than the one that has higher standby power. However, if you consider a long term scenario, it is still a winning situation if you are going to buy appliances with a lower standby power.
Let us site an example. Considering you have these devices in your household: 2 sets of TV, a home theater, a satellite dish, a stereo and a kitchen oven.
For two sets of TVs, the total maximum standby power is 44 Watts. For the home theater the maximum standby power is 34 Watts. Satellite dish have 17 Watts, 24 Watts for stereo while 18 Watts for kitchen oven. The total wasted power when these devices are unplugged is 137 Watts. Supposing these devices are running for 12 hours a day and at standby mode for another 12 hours per day, the daily energy consumption due to the standby power is 1,644 WattHour. For a month, the total energy wasted will be 49.320 kiloWattHour. For a year the total energy wasted is 591.84 kiloWattHour.
And now if you’re buying the appliances with lower standby power consumption, the total yearly wasted energy is only 77.76 kiloWattHour.
Supposing the cost of energy per kiloWattHour is 0.15$US, the total savings in a year by purchasing the appliances with the lowest standby power will be 77.112$US. For the entire appliance life; say a minimum of 5-year life, the total savings would be 385.56$US.
With the projected savings; yes it is worth investing for appliances with low standby power consumption.
In order to further maximize the savings, choose the brand with the same price but with the lowest standby power consumption. If you can’t find any, you can consider buying with a bit higher price; I don’t think the price difference is that big. In the long run it is still economical though.
The most wise and economical at all is to unplug appliances and devices when not in use. Make it a habit. Read here the article for unplugging appliances when not in use.