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Green Building News

Study Quantifies Phantom Load Problem

California researchers have disproved the myth promoted by some "phantom load" alarmists that home electronic devices often use more electricity when "off" than on.
Image Credit: Philips

Electronic Devices Use More Electricity When on than Off#

SACRAMENTO, CA — A California study of residential electricity use has determined that 39% of the electricity consumed by small electronic devices (including televisions, set-top boxes, DVD players, and computer equipment) is used while the devices are turned off but operating in standby or phantom load mode.

In 50 studied houses, the average electricity consumed by the devices was 1,063 kWh per year, of which 651 kWh was consumed while the devices were turned on. The devices had a “phantom load” — that is, electricity consumed while the devices were not being used — of 412 kWh per year.

The results of the study contradict the estimates of energy consultants who claim that such devices use more energy when “off” than on. The study was conducted by Ecos Consulting, EPRI Solutions, and RLW Analytics and funded by the California Energy Commission. For more information, visit .


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