Plug Electronics into Power Strips
Cost Savings: $100
Whether it's chargers for smart phones and other electronics left plugged into the wall, or televisions and set-top boxes that idle in "standby" while switched off, there's a lot of energy wasted around the home by appliances and electronics that draw power for doing nothing. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that this "phantom load" costs the average household as much as $100.
And that estimate came before the latest data revealed that the share of electricity used to run electronics and appliances has jumped to 31% of the average utility bill.
To kill the phantom load you have to give up two conveniences: Leaving chargers plugged into the wall when they aren't plugged into your phone or other device; and the gratification of having your television reveal its picture instantly. When switched "off," televisions and computers and other appliances are drawing energy so they can turn back on immediately but is it worth a few Andrew Jackson's a year?
Plug your television and computer equipment into power strips that can be turned off definitively and then use the power strip switch religiously to power down your equipment. You might also try smart plugs, which use timers and other techniques to power down electronics at the outlet when they're not in use. Two options: the Belkin Conserve Socket ($10 at amazon.com) and the ThinkEco Modlet ($50 at thinkecoinc.com).
With chargers, either unplug them when you're done charging, or plug all your chargers into one power strip, and set a charging time say, right after work when you disconnect for an hour, charge your electronics, and then switch the simple diy charging station "off" for good. Bonus: It can help you cut down on clutter around the office, and stop the frantic search for missing chargers.
See more home decluttering tips.