Does Turning Things Off and On Waste More Energy Than it Saves?

Dad always told you to turn off the lights when you left a room. That usually came right after his “money doesn’t grow on trees” speech. But you’ve also heard that turning things off and on WASTES more energy than it saves. So what’s the real deal? Here’s the scoop, courtesy of Real Simple magazine.

  • LIGHTS. Bill Prindle is a director of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. And he says turn the lights off whenever you leave a room. Energy ISN’T wasted by turning lights off and back on. And a 100-watt bulb left on for 8 hours a day burns $30 dollars of electricity a year. Multiply that by several light bulbs, and leaving them on really adds up. 
  • Your CAR. Idling in a car not only wastes gas, but it puts more pollutants in the air than restarting it would. So if you’re stopping for more than a minute - turn OFF the engine.
  • Should you leave your COMPUTER running all day – or turn it off? The official word is that you should program it to “sleep” after 30 minutes when you’re not using it. This’ll cut your need for power by up to 90%. If you’ll be stepping away for hours on end, turn it off and also unplug the surge protector, which uses energy even when the computer is off. And booting it up again uses the equivalent of only two seconds of run time – and it won’t hurt the hard drive. Also, monitors are a BIG energy drain. So turn them off if you won’t be using your computer for at least 20 minutes.

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