Author Archives: EnergyEfficianado

How long do power supplies last?

Published / by EnergyEfficianado

Hello there! Today we’re going to answer the age-old question: how long do power supplies typically last? I suppose the question is only as old as computers have been around, but you get the idea. Well, the short answer is that it depends on a variety of factors including what you do with the computer, what the climate is like where you live, and who made your power supply unit. Generally you should get at least a few years out of any well-made power supply unit. Luckily with a coupon for 10% off, they aren’t expensive even when they do need to be replaced.

I thought it would be helpful to first understand what exactly a power supply does. The power supply is responsible for converting the AC power from your wall outlet into the DC power that your computer needs to operate. Without a power supply your computer simply won’t work at all. It’s a critical component of your system that needs to function properly.

A major factor that contributes to the lifespan of a power supply is how it’s used. If a computer is used for long periods of time or is subjected to heavy usage (such as running demanding applications like graphics editing software or playing games), the power supply may wear out more quickly than if it’s only used occasionally for basic tasks like looking up recipes and cat pictures. In general, a power supply is designed to last around 100,000 hours of use, but this can vary greatly depending on the quality of the components used in its construction.

Something else to consider is the environment in which the computer is used. For example, if you live in a hot & humid climate the power supply may not last as long as it would in a cooler and drier environment. Higher temperatures and humidity can cause components to degrade more quickly. Even in a cool & dry climate, if the computer is used in an area with a lot of dust or other particles in the air the build up may cause the power supply to wear out faster.

Brand and manufacturer are also important to think about. Not all power supplies are created equal, and some brands and manufacturers produce more reliable products than others. It’s always a good idea to do some research and read reviews from other users to get an idea of which brands and models of power supplies are the most reliable and which ones people haven’t had such good experiences with. Some of the most well-known and respected power supply brands include Corsair, EVGA, and Seasonic.

You should also keep in mind that not all power supplies are interchangeable. Different computers require different wattages and voltages so it’s important to double check that the power supply you have is compatible with your computer. Some high-end computers even require specialized power supplies with features like modular cabling or high efficiency ratings. If you’re not sure what type of power supply your computer requires you can consult the manufacturer’s specifications or seek the advice of a qualified technician.

Las but not least, it’s worth noting that power supplies can fail for a variety of reasons even if they’re relatively new or of high quality. The most common reasons for sudden power supply failure are power surges, electrical storms, and component defects. In some cases a power supply may simply stop working for no apparent reason. If you suspect that your power supply has failed you should get it checked by a professional to avoid potential damage to other components in your system.

While power supplies are generally designed to last for a long time, it’s important to keep an eye on their performance and replace them if they begin to show signs of wear or failure. With some care and maintenance your computer’s power supply should last for many years.

vpn energy usage

Can You Save Energy By Using a VPN?

Published / by EnergyEfficianado

Do Virtual Private Networks Help or Hurt Your Overall Power Usage?

VPNs are all the rage right now. People want to be able to use the internet while knowing that their information is not being monitored or sold in any way. And VPN’s boast of having thousands of servers world-wide that they use to anonymize you while you surf. There’s also discounts for virtual private networks that make it much more budget-friendly for a lot of people.

Does that mean that when you use a VPN, it uses less energy resources than regular internet surfing?

What We Found Out:

VPN’s use more energy because of a thing called ‘standby power’. VPN’s need to keep pinging servers to keep their connections alive, which means that, when your VPN is active on your computer or portable device, it’ll use energy even when you’re not using the internet.

Here’s some more ways to cut down on a big problem with energy usage: standby power

Save Energy by Cutting Down on Standby Power 

A big source of wasted energy that many people do not think about is that which is caused by standby power. Standby power refers to the energy that your appliances are absorbing when they are plugged in. Even if appliances, such as your coffee maker, hairdryer or blender, off, they’ll be absorbing energy as long as they remain plugged in. It may not seem like they should be absorbing much energy since they are switched off, but you might be surprised: roughly five to ten percent of energy use in residential homes is a result of standby power usage. By cutting down on the amount of standby power you use, you can save up to $100 a year. The following are three ways in which you can lower the amount of standby power you use: 

Unplug your appliances – This is probably the easiest way that you can reduce standby power. Simply unplug the appliances that you are not using. Obviously, some things need to remain plugged in, such as your refrigerator. However, smaller appliances such as toasters and microwaves don’t need to be plugged in all the time. Larger appliances that you use throughout the day, such as TV’s and computers, should be unplugged if you go out of town for more than a day to help save energy. 

Invest in a power strip – Unplugging your appliances may be easy, but it’s also somewhat inconvenient, especially if you make use of a lot of different appliances throughout the day. A power strip makes it easy to cut down on standby power because you can plug in a number of things into the same power source. Power strips come with a switch that allows you to shut off the flow of energy to everything plugged into it – much easier than having to unplug each appliance separately. Not to mention that power strips also act as protection against potential power surges.

Invest in products that have been approved by Energy Star – Energy Star is a label of excellence that designates certain products as meeting or even exceeding the energy efficiency standards that have been set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Products with the Energy Star label tend to have much lower standby power usage than products without the Energy Star designation. They also tend to use less energy overall. While these products may be more expensive, they will help cut down on your energy use, thereby saving you on your energy bills over the long run.  

These are just three easy ways in which you can cut down on the energy you are wasting through standby power use.

energy consuming devices

The Most Energy-Consuming Appliances in Your Home

Published / by EnergyEfficianado

Every month you plan on reducing your electricity bill, and yet when you receive the bill you get a shock. Why is that? The reason behind this is not planning properly. To reduce energy consumption and your electricity bill, the first and foremost thing to do is to identify the appliances that consume the most energy. Once you have identified them, then you can take necessary measures to reduce the consumption.

Replace Appliances like Washing Machines, Refridgerators, etc with Green Ones

If you go through this list and can see that a lot of your appliances are running up your energy bill, it may be worth the investment to replace them with ‘green’ machines. If you’re not sure which washing machines, dishwashers, or other home appliances are more energy efficient take a look at, they have lots of great info and appliance guides. Yes there is a bit of up front cost involved with replacing machines, but long term it will more than pay for itself! energy efficient appliances

Appliances that use the most Energy

So, let us start with identifying the most energy consuming appliances. From there you can work on either reducing their energy consumption or replacing them.

  1. Air Conditioner and Room Heater – Air Conditioners in summer and Room Heaters in winter are a major source of energy consumption. About 47% of the energy consumption is due to these appliances. Electric baseboard heaters are very inefficient, systems like heat pumps and gas heaters can be better.
  2. Water Heater – Another potent source of energy consumption is water heating. Heating water for both shower and washing clothes consumes a lot of energy, which in turn leads to a price hike in your electricity bill.
  3. Washing and Drying Machines – Laundry at home is also the main cause of high electricity bill. Washing and drying machines consume almost 13% energy and the time needed to complete one cycle is quite a lot, which leads to a lot of consumption.
  4. Refrigerators – Though with each passing day modernized refrigerators are being invented that reduce the power consumption, the refrigerator is still a big source of energy consumption. It uses almost 4% of the energy and as we all know, refrigerators are on for almost 24/7 so a whole lot of power goes there.
  5. Light Bulbs – Light bulbs though are small and consume less, we use them more. We tend to overuse them and forget to turn them off when we are not in the room. This leads to an accumulated energy consumption which in turn increases the bill.

Besides these, there are the vampire devices, the ones that use energy even when turned off, such as set-top box, laptop, printer, modem, TV, etc.

Though these devices consume a lot of energy, it is not impossible to stop them. Here are few basic steps following which can lead to a reduction in the consumption.

  • Unplug the appliances – After turning off the appliances, unplug them, so that the vampire devices cannot suck extra energy, as certain appliances even when left on a standby mode, can consume up to 20% energy. Therefore it is advisable to always unplug a device once the user is finished.
  • Insulation – Proper insulation can lead to a lot less power consumption. Insulate your home as well as your water lines, to keep them warm, so that less power is required.
  • Install solar and automatic light sensors – Installing them in the first place can be costly, but they will help you save a lot in the future. Install solar-powered light bulbs, so that the electricity consumption can be reduced. Also, installing an automatic light sensor on the outside or near the main door can help you save as well.
  • Use LED lights – LED lights to consume less energy, yet provide more light. They are perfect for home usage.
  • Buy Energy efficient appliances – You can check the energy star before buying an appliance. The more the no. of stars, the less power the said device consumes.

If you just make a few changes here and there, you should start to see a reduction in your energy bill even with the same appliances. Good luck!

Efficient Power Supplies

Published / by EnergyEfficianado

Efficiency of Power Supplies in the Active Mode

Power supplies are one of the crucial building blocks of a modern society, converting high-voltage alternating current (AC) into low-voltage direct current (DC) for use by the electronic circuits in office equipment, telecommunications, and consumer electronics. Over 2.5 billion AC/DC power supplies are currently in use in the United States alone. About 6 to 10 billion are in use worldwide.

While the best power supplies are more than 90% efficient, some are only 20 to 40% efficient, wasting the majority of the electricity that passes through them. As a result, today’s power supplies consume at least 2% of all U.S. electricity production. More efficient power supply designs could cut that usage in half, saving nearly $3 billion and about 24 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. If you are looking to purchase some, here is an electronics voucher to save on your new power supplies.

The Purpose of This Web Site

This Web site was created by EPRI and Ecova to initiate a global dialogue about energy efficient power supplies. Our focus here is particularly on the issue of energy consumption in the active or “on” mode of product operation. According to our research so far, nearly 75% of all the energy used by power supplies occurs in active mode. For those interested primarily in standby power consumption or other low-power modes, please visit Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Web site on that topic at

In 2003, the California Energy Commission’s PIER (Public Interest Energy Research) program has funded Ecova and EPRI to assess the efficiencies of modern power supplies and recommend strategies for improving them. An open exchange of design information, test methods, measured results, and other related documents is essential to that project’s success, tapping the best information available from manufacturers, government agencies, utilities, and product users.

Ecova and EPRI continue to work on a variety of other power supply and whole-product efficiency initiatives in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, described in more detail under Projects and at website. Our goal in every case is to accelerate the market for more energy-efficient products, saving energy and preventing pollution.

How You Can Get Involved

  • Power supply manufacturers: Review and comment on the proposed test methods, browse efficiency test reports on power supplies, read about the design competition held in 2004, and contribute news clips on your latest efficient product offerings.
  • Electronics assemblers: Compare the efficiency of the power supplies you use to the models in our test reports.
  • Utilities: Join our efforts in improving efficiency of power supplies, find out how utilities participate in the 80Plus Program and try the calculators to see how much energy a more efficient power supply will save.
  • Government agencies: Check efficiency policies for the latest news on labeling and incentive programs, procurement strategies, and mandatory standards.
  • Consumers: Take a look at the Efficiency Opportunities and the Power Supply Efficiency Policies to learn more about the developments that are happening in the power supply efficiency research.

energy efficient home

Green Homes and Their Construction

Published / by EnergyEfficianado

With the rise of the housing market and the desire to be environmentally friendly, individuals are putting more time and money into constructing energy-efficient, renewable homes. It is estimated that single family “green” homes represent approximately 1/3 of the housing market. They are designed to better conserve water and energy with renewable and safe materials, decreasing the impact on the environment and improving personal health. LEED, or The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a program responsible for certifying green buildings based on environmentally friendly and efficient building methods.

Water Conservation

Typical green homeowners experience a water savings of approximately 20%. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways by installing green plumbing systems or purchasing water-efficient appliances and fixtures. Green homes may be designed to conserve more water by recycling grey water – or waste water that is not contaminated with fecal matter–for irrigation systems. One of the simplest methods for achieving this is to deviate water from laundry washing machines straight into the garden or yard. Many experts advise having a professional install this system, as there are filtering processes that are put in place to make grey water irrigation as safe as possible.

Cisterns may also be installed to collect rainwater, which can be filtered passively and used for irrigation, or can be further filtered and safe to drink. Typically, gutters and drains from rooftops will be rerouted into large collection barrels for maximum accumulation. Passive filtration systems often use materials such as sand and charcoal to filter large particles and reduce chlorine and harmful compounds. Charcoal also assists in removing the taste and smell from rainwater. Added filtration can come from personal, high-end water filters or from systems installed within the home that can separate potable (for ingestion) and non-potable water.

Additionally, green plumbing systems can be installed to reduce water consumption and improve efficiency in the home. Placing a hot water heater in a central location can diminish the amount of heat loss from the water when traveling from the heater. There are also eco-friendly and cost-effective alternatives to PVC and copper piping that produce no negative byproducts during manufacturing and are better insulated and more durable. Together, there are many options for green and traditional homeowners to improve the capability and safety of their plumbing systems, including replacing the delivery system of the water.

Water-efficient fixtures such as faucets, shower heads, and low flow toilets may be installed to continue to regulate water consumption. These fixtures range in a variety of designs and functions and can be easily installed after construction as well. Additional appliances such as dishwashers and laundry machines have energy and water-efficient options for any homeowner.

Energy Conservation

To add to the overall cost effectiveness and renewable design, green homes use both passive and active design techniques to maintain energy efficiency. Heating and lighting are two principal consumers of electricity in a home. To counter this, many builders attempt to face the home south to increase the amount light and heat in the home. Many builders also plan with natural insulation in mind, which can decrease the amount of heat lost through radiation. A common way to accomplish this is to build the home into a hill or cover it with dirt and plants, which maximizes both yard and growing space. Energy efficient, well-insulated doors and windows are another popular passive strategy to reduce heating costs. Larger windows also allow more light to enter the home. Less square footage and more efficient layouts further improve passive heating and cooling. It is estimated that these expenditures can be lowered by 50% or greater with green construction, and LEED certified homes are designed to use 30-60% less energy overall.

Further measures to reduce energy consumption involve using renewable energy sources. Typically, these measures consist of solar, photovoltaic, or geothermal systems to provide renewable energy. Location of the home, however, has a huge impact on these sources. A heavily forested plot can significantly reduce sun exposure, as can placing panels on a home in an area that is overcast most of the year.

Healthier Materials

Green homes are also advertised as being healthier due to the use of environmental and health-friendly building materials. LEED-certified homes require non-toxic building and finishing materials, which may be present in many older homes. Paint, fixtures, carpet, and wood finishes may have unhealthy constituents such as lead and formaldehyde (sometimes found in manufactured wood). LEED certifications also require proper ventilation and high-efficiency air filters, reducing allergens in the air and improving air quality overall. Extra measures to reduce mold and mildew from the home also reduce allergens in the home. As noted above, alternatives to current piping may also have a lesser impact on health. The options vary, but many of these products are available for green homes and traditional homes, alike.


Overall, green homes are a smart choice for buyers looking to save money in the long run, as the durability of these homes reduces maintenance costs over time. Average upfront costs are estimated at 2.4% compared to a traditional home. Energy and water-efficient appliances are also a greater immediate expense, but may reduce bills in the long run. Adding renewable energy sources requires an even greater payout; solar hot water heaters, for example, run from $4,000 to $9,000, compared to a $700 price tag for a conventional heater. These heaters, however, can halve the buyer’s water heating costs. Furthermore, the Earth Advantage Study reported that green-certified homes sell for 30% more than conventional homes, which may increase as the demand for environmentally-friendly products becomes more apparent, while the average actual cost per square foot is roughly the same.

Overall, much can be done to improve efficiency and decrease the environmental impact of construction. With construction accounting for almost 40% of national CO2 emissions, LEED-certified buildings consume less energy, water, and, according to the United States Green Building Council, have helped to keep more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills. With this positive impact, it is no wonder that more LEED-certified green homes are being built and the resale is so high. The decision to purchase or build a green home is up to each individual, but even if the final choice is for a traditional home, the options and practices that can reduce waste, bills, and environmental impact can still be put into place.