By Luda Fieguth
Electronic equipment and small appliances often consume
electricity even when they are not being used. This situation is commonly
called standby power. Executive Order 13221, issued by President Bush in
July 2001, calls for Federal agencies to purchase products that use less
than one watt of standby power when such products are available and are
Standby power supplies are responsible for electricity
consumption in idle mode and these devices come in two forms—those that
are external and those that are internal to the other electronics.
The external devices have earned the name vampires because
they have two teeth (the prongs of the plug) and suck electricity. They
are also known as low voltage transformers, adapters and power supplies.
The external devices (the plug-in black boxes) represent
approximately 20 percent of the market while internal devices, those that
are built into the product, represent the overwhelming majority (80
percent) of the market.
Some of the products that use energy while in the standby
mode include: cell phones, telephones, laptop computers, desk top
computers, computer monitors, television sets, VCRs, DVDs, cable boxes,
fax machines, copiers, printers, scanners, cordless power tools and
New technologies make it possible to substantially reduce
standby power use without affecting any of the services that consumers
have come to expect of the product. Limiting standby energy can save money
and decrease carbon emission into the environment.
Please consider the low standby power criteria when
purchasing new electronic devices and appliances that have standby power.
For more information about the devices and to obtain
access to the product database, see the SLAC Energy Management Web site
under Standby Power Data or go directly to the Federal Energy Management
Program Web site: