Originally Posted by sivadselim
I know it all adds up, but I think that the amount of energy our equipment uses when left on all the time is such a teeny weeny, tiny amount of the country's total energy consumption that there are much more effective (and easily doable) ways to go about saving energy than simply turning off our receivers.
If we'd all switch to using those flourescent "light bulbs" instead of conventional light bulbs, for example, would save a huge amount of energy relative to what our equipment consumes.
First, please tell me what method of saving energy could be simpler and cheaper to implement than turning off devices that aren't in use. I can't think of one. I don't turn devices off at the wall, but I do turn them off at the machine which switches quite a few of them into standby mode rather than completely off, but that still saves something.
Second, I swapped my light bulbs to energy saving compact fluoros and my first quarterly electricity bill after the change showed a reduction of around $2 in the bill so I did save some electricity. The bulbs cost me a bit over $100 to do the whole house (both figures in Australian $ and we're talking Australian electricity costsYMMV). The actual energy saving wasn't all that large and at this stage it's not looking like a particularly cost effective way for the consumer to reduce their energy use., even when you factor in the savings on bulbs over the longer life span of the compact fluoros.
There are definitely other ways to save power rather than switching things off. Class D amplification is more efficient than other classes of amplification, but changing amplifiers can get to be very expensive and may not be cost effective. Ditto for swapping any other component to a more energy efficient one. There's also the question of whether the energy savings at the consumer end require more energy expended in the actual production of the product. If they do, it might actually be more effective overall to go with something that uses a bit more at the consumer end but uses significantly less energy to make at the production end. Compact fluoros obviously cost more to make, hence their higher cost, but do they also require more energy to make than a standard light bulb and, if they do, how much does that extra energy used in production offset the later energy savings in use?
I could also save energy by using components less by watching less TV/video and listening to less music. I can use less light by going to bed earlier and not reading in bed. I could swap to eating meals that don't require cooking or heating. All of these represent pretty drastic changes to my lifestyle that I don't want to contemplate at this stage.
While I don't mind trying to conserve energy, I do object to doing so in ways that end up costing me a lot more than the energy I save would cost, that require me to change components which are still working well and don't require replacement, or that significantly impact upon my enjoyment of life. My experience with the light bulbs has taught me that this is a lot trickier area than we tend to think at the outset.
Turning things off when not in use, or at least to standby, actually looks more and more like the best way to go as far as I'm concerned. After that, I start to look at buying the most energy efficient devices that do what I want when it comes time to replace something, but part of 'what I want' is often performance quality and I'm unlikely to compromise on that in areas that are important to me.