Engadget recently posted an article on the TV TrickleSaver by TrickleStar. The purpose of the device is to cut off the standby power (a.k.a. vampire load) to your gaming systems attached to your TV. So when you turn off the TV, the TrickleSaver cuts off any standby power to your PS3 or XBox 360. While the device looks pretty slick, I'm not really buying the author's statement of "each of which should (in regards to PS3/Xbox) consume more than enough power to eventually cover the $34.95 price tag for the TrickleSaver."
My biggest problem with journalists/bloggers when they write about energy savings is that they don't bother to actually crunch numbers themselves! They just make statements and hope they are correct.
Luckily, I have a Kill-A-Watt so I can see how much my very own PS3 is consuming in standby mode. I just did this and I can tell you that my Kill-A-Watt is telling me that my PS3 consumes 1 Watt in Standby mode. So, to do a cost analysis on how much a TV TrickleSaver will save you by cutting off the standby power to your PS3 (or XBox or other gaming system) you do the following:
- Estimate how often your PS3 is plugged in and not being used. For worst case scenario, I'll assume I never turn on my PS3 and it is always in standby mode. In my case, 8,760 (24 hrs/day * 365 days/yr) hours in a year
- Multiply the standby load of the PS3 - 1 Watt - by the number of hours it is in standby mode. In my case, this comes out to be 8,760 Watt-hours.
- Divide this value by 1,000 in order to get the amount in kiloWatt- hours. In my case, 8.76 kWh
- Multiply this amount by your electricity rate.
I pay around 10 cents/kWh. Therefore, the TrickleSaver would save me at most about $0.87 per year! Wait....87 cents? How much does this thing cost again? Engadget says $34.95. That's a 40 year payback! So yes, the TrickleStar eventually covers the cost of purchase, as long as your PS3 works for 40 years!
To truly make a difference in your energy consumption, you have to go after the big loads first! Once you have those under control, worry about standby load. But you don't need to get expensive gadgets. Just get a power strip, plug the devices into it, and turn it off when not in use!