Reach under your desk and touch your cell phone charger’s wall wart. Is it warm? That warmth correlates to wasted electricity. Treehugger: 95% of all energy consumed by cell phones is used by the charger when the phone is not plugged in. Some interesting follow-ups in the discussions there — two readers extrapolate the rather small amount of waste to the entire population of Canada (32 million) and come up with 32.3 million kilowatt hours, or 196,977.08 barrels of oil per year. And that’s just cell phone chargers. In Canada. Extrapolate to the whole world, and to all devices with wall chargers, and the numbers get scary.
Other articles I’ve seen on this say the figure is closer to 2/3 of cell phone electricity, rather than 95%. But:
If 10 percent of the world’s cell phone owners did this … it would reduce energy consumption by an amount equivalent to that used by 60,000 European homes per year.
Nokia’s new phones will be visually suggesting that users unplug their chargers when not in use. Nice move on Nokia’s part, but makes you wonder why chargers aren’t made with sensors and switches, capable of turning themselves off when not in use. Apparently there is no technical barrier to building chargers this way – the absence of such switches now is purely economic.
I’m thinking of creating a home charging station, so all of our gizmos’ chargers can be plugged in to a single power strip with an on/off switch.