It’s time to stop the energy vampires

In chapter three of Laudato Si, Pope Francis writes of

the false notion that an infinite quantity of energy and resources are available

It is better to conserve energy so that we may stretch this finite supply. And what is perhaps the simplest way to conserve energy? Not to waste it in the first place. Our techno-savvy world contains numerous energy vampires — technologies, appliances, and practices that use up energy with little or no benefit.

Examples of energy vampires that might be lurking in your household or place of work:

  1. Phone or tablet chargers plugged into the wall but with no phone or tablet connected to them. 
  2. Televisions, and home entertainment appliances. (Many of these devices consume a significant amount of energy when turned off but in standby mode.) 
  3. Computers, monitors, fax machines, and printers when not in use.
  4. Power tools and other rechargeables that are plugged in all the time. 
  5. Spare refrigerators or freezers that you are not using. 
  6. Unused set top cable boxes, VCRs, DVD players, and DVRs.
  7. Always on lamps, lights, and night lights.

In almost all these cases, the solution is to pull the plug or plug the device into a power strip that can be easily shut off. This will also reduce your fire risk as well. Tip: If you have kitchen or bathroom appliances plugged into ground fault circuit interrupter (GCCI) outlets, you can trip the circuit to shut off the flow of electricity to the appliance without any need for a power strip. Don’t forget to look for unused devices consuming energy in spare bedrooms, attics, basements, and other seldom used rooms.

While in most cases, each device may consume only a tiny amount of energy, the sheer number of unconnected devices can easily add up to consume a significant amount of energy. More ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint and care for creation can be found at

Working together, we can help take care of our common home.

Paul Litwin

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