Did you know that 40 percent of the electricity used by your appliances and electronics is consumed while they're turned off? I didn't know that until I was watching HGTV this weekend and saw an ad for their Change the World campaign. The Change the World campaign offers green homebuilding, renovation and decorating tips to manage and improve your household in responsible, eco-friendly ways.

As the station suggested, and as I once read in "The Carbon-Free Home," by Stephen and Rebekah Hren, appliances, such as computers, tvs and even phone chargers, consume energy while they're plugged into the wall and turned off not doing anything. The Hrens refer to them as "Phantom Draws," invisible energy usage drawn energy by "appliances that are always partly on in standby function, so that just in case you area bout to turn them on they won't need to charge up and will come on in one second instead of five. "

This can include televisions, stereos, DVD players, computers, video game players, a printer, router, or any power tool or appliance that has a black box attached to it-- to convert AC to DC power-- such as battery chargers.

According to the Hrens, "saving you from waiting these trivial few seconds can often mean that several thousand additional watts are expended each day in your home and lost to the world forever. This is the equivalent to leaving a faucet or a shower running all day just in case you might happen to want to use it at any moment."

To alleviate this problem, the Hrens suggest using power strips that can be turned off, or unplugging items not in use.

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