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Phantom Energy Circuits

Sep 06, 2011

What is Phantom Energy?

As stated on the Go Green Saskatchewan website, “about 40 per cent of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. This is known as phantom or stand-by power. Some stand-by power is necessary. For example, it's why your television is ready to detect signals from your remote control when you turn it on. But, keep in mind this means your TV can draw power even when it's not on.”

Appliances and electronics that draw phantom power include:

  • any appliance with a digital interface or clock
  • microwave, coffee maker, DVD player, VCR
  • anything that relies on DC power
  • any device that has a remote control
  • stereo, television cable box
  • battery chargers

Devices unlikely to draw phantom power include:

  • any appliance that has a mechanical switch that closes an electronic circuit in order to work
  • overhead lights, lamps, and many kitchen appliances like mixers or toasters

How to turn off phantom power 

One great option to eliminate stand-by power, especially at night, is to operate your whole entertainment centre using a power bar. At the VerEco House, we use the Belkin model that turns of and on using a remote switch.

The VerEco House also has a continuous circuit. This is a circuit that connects several outlets throughout the house to a switch located in a convenient location. Items plugged into the outlets connected to the switch can have the power turned on and off easily and the homeowner will save on phantom energy. 

Installing a continuous circuit is something you should get your electrician to do. Here are two websites that explain the process. 

How to wire multiple outlets and a light on the same circuit

Wiring Diagrams

Whatever method you use to cut back on phantom power, there are a variety of options that make it easy and convenient.

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Net zero means that a home has an annual net energy consumption of zero; it uses the same amount of energy as it generates. Energy consumption is based on heating and cooling a home, heating water, and operating the home's lights, appliances, and mechanical devices.

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Canada's first Net Zero Home Exhibit is located at Saskatoon's Western Development Museum.

The home is built by VerEco Homes Inc. in partnership with WSE Technologies.

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