So let’s do the sums here

Forgetful youngsters leaving lights and electronic gadgets on in the home are costing Britain’s parents £525 million a year, a new report claims.
The average extra energy cost per household works out at more than £70 because children fail to use the off switch and allow equipment to continue burning up the kilowatts, research found.
The study shows that power-guzzling games consoles and computers are the worst offenders and the bill for keeping them permanently on standby can clock up £40 over 12 months.

£70 a year is 10 hours minimum wage time, close enough. We also know that unpid domestic labour shuld be valued at about minimum wage (actually, the undifferentiated wage rate but that’s the same thing really).

Or 12 minutes work a week. So, is this actually waste? Would you have to snarl at the kids for more than 12 minutes a week to stop this wastage? Further, the time spent powering down fully and powering up again, would this amount to more than that 12 minutes.

In fact, is this £500 million bill a waste of electricity or a saving of time?

21 thoughts on “So let’s do the sums here”

  1. And these things never take account that if you have central heating on and a thermostat, the energy “wasted” is in fact reducing your heating energy use. Not normally at 100%, but significantly.

    (Of course, if you have air conditioning running, you are wasting extra energy on top of what the appliances are using, but that is a negligible consideration in UK residences)

  2. They haven’t given any consideration to the simple fact that turning electronic devices completely off and then turning them back on again can severely reduce their life. The majority of “wear” in circuitry is caused by the initial power surge as it starts. So they might save a few quid every year in electricity but will have to replace kit more frequently. But…

    This is a sign that I’m old… I only replace kit when it either fails or becomes incapable of doing the job… Not because it’s fallen out of fashion. 🙂

  3. The Pedant-General

    Meh – it’s a rounding error.
    vastly outweighed by the replacement of candle bulbs with LED versions (which last longer, look better and use less power than those ghastly dim CFLs).

  4. The worst culprits I hear of are the “style concious” (of both sexes) forgetting to switch off hair straighteners…

  5. Pogo is correct: computers are best left on. The alleged £40 a year is cheap insurance.

    More tunnel vision from campaigners. Their issue is more important than any others. Except trivial to everyone else.

    ‘power-guzzling games’

    The language of creeps.

  6. When I drive past any civil service building and don’t see it lit up like a Christmas tree (even at 11:30pm at night), I’ll worry about energy saving on my Kindle…

  7. the bill for keeping them permanently on standby can clock up £40 over 12 months.

    Headline: TV License costs 3 times more than electricity wastage.

  8. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “Power guzzling computers”. When my Mac is idle it’s using about 11W. Flat-out it’s 85W, if I’m transcoding video or running make on a big project and using all eight CPU threads. The Macbook uses about 800mW when I have the lid down and about 100 when it’s up. The three Linux boxes use about a kilowatt if they’re all running at full wick at the same time, which they never are. On average they pull about 450W total. They’re my servers (and the firewall) so they need to be on. So that’s about $50 a month at the price per kWh I pay. Big deal.

  9. how about applying the same logic to food wasted.i am curious if it is also a rounding error/not worth donating to orphanages etc

  10. The language of creeps.

    Indeed. The use of the word ‘guzzling’ is a pretty good marker that the person/group using it is a wanker desperate to ban something.

  11. Pogo is correct: computers are best left on. The alleged £40 a year is cheap insurance.

    I’d agree, up to a point. I believe the monitor uses 80% (?) of the power, so I close the lid of the laptop and switch off the monitor on the PC. And I also have both set up so that they go into hibernation mode after 30 minutes. Any thoughts?

  12. Whenever I’m at home I nag my kids about this sort of shit precisely because it gives me an indisputable win.

    You left the light on; I told you not to leave the light on.

    So much easier to get them to do other stuff when you already have them on the back foot.

    Thus I view this story as a major assist and will show them the £40 figure with a look of outraged horror on my fizzog.

  13. I also have both set up so that they go into hibernation mode after 30 minutes.

    Power saving software (i.e. hibernation) is a pain in the arse. It always seems to cause serious issues on any PC I have ever owned.

    I just switch the monitor off. As others have said, that’s most of the power.

  14. “how about applying the same logic to food wasted.i am curious if it is also a rounding error/not worth donating to orphanages etc”

    Same difference.. At single household level, the amounts aren’t worth it. At supermarket/wholesale level quite a lot of food can be, and quite often is, recycled into pet food/secondary streams.
    In the food *industry* one company’s waste is another company’s primary input. And they generally have the logistics and equipment to make it work.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    Grikath – “At supermarket/wholesale level quite a lot of food can be, and quite often is, recycled into pet food/secondary streams.”

    We used to send restaurant scraps to be fed to pigs. But when the foot and mouth outbreak occurred, the government panicked and banned the practise. Even though it had nothing to do with pigs or food scraps.

  16. @ SMFS
    Thanks for that reminder – I had got to thinking that pigswill was just old-fashioned because it was too much hard work.

  17. Rob,
    The biggest problem with hibernation is the malevolence of inanimate objects which predicts quite correctly that the computer will always timeout and shutdown just as you reach for the keyboard.

  18. @john77, the Blair govt banned a 60+M pound industry overnight in one of their many “Must ban something” panics of which they were very fond.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *