Selecting a green New Year’s resolution for 2012: Stop being a vampire

Vampires are real, and even you could be one. We're not insinuating that you crave blood. But, you could be sucking up energy by leaving electronics turned on or plugged in when you're not using them. You don't need to worry about gathering cloves of garlic though. A New Year's resolution that keeps you mindful of unnecessary energy consumption will surely dispell your curse.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a research institution supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, has done extensive research on how common household electronics consume energy when not in use. Combining the figures from the Berkeley Lab's studies with the average national price of electricity from October 2011 (13 cents per kilowatt hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor), here are some common electronics that can cost you and the environment if you aren't careful.

Leaving on a laser printer constantly can cost you up to $563.82 per year. Inkjet printers are much more eco-friendly. Even if they're always left on, they won't add more than $26 to your yearly electric spending. Similarly, if your desktop computer is constantly idling, that could cost upwards of $211.57 on electricity yearly. Even when it's in sleep mode, your desktop can add up to $97.46 a year.

Laptops, however, can tack on nearly $60 to your bill annually when they're turned off. You should only plug them in if they're being used and the battery is drained. When a laptop is turned on, fully charged and plugged in, it can use more energy than when it's actually charging.

Additionally, video game consoles that are on and not being used can add $79.19 to your yearly electric bill, while unmonitored rear projection televisions can accumulate up to $217.73 in unnecessary annual costs.

You don't need to unplug everything that you aren't using, but taking the extra few seconds to turn off your devices can make a dramatic difference in your environmental impact this year. 


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