The Unnecessary LED
As human technology becomes ever-more advanced there are many ways to be benefited by what is available. Technology now (as of 02/02/2011) doubles in advancement every 18 months. However, even as we progress into the star-trek future that people have always dreamed of there are a few things that hold us back. The main issue is economy, people are just to concerned about money to care about producing products that are truly energy efficient or made to the highest possible standards. Why do many energy efficient appliance have a small light that is always on? When that light is on, it is using electricity. The lights in these appliances are called LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). LEDs use much less electricity than other light sources but in order to be used in an electric appliance standard wall-socket AC (120 volts) has to be converted to around 1.2 volts. This conversion consumes electricity in the process by converting it into heat which is then lost to the environment around the device. Electrical resistance is further needed to bring the voltage down for the led to use which results in more electricity being converted into heat. In the end this consumes about 0.9 kWh (kilowatt-hours) per year. This means that you only pay about 10 cents per led per year. Not so bad, right?
Based on the above value, imagine if you were able to add up the number of constantly lit LEDs in the world. It would be astounding how much electricity is simply waisted. It is hardly noticeable when you take ten cents from someone but you only need to take ten cents from ten people to make a quick buck.
Almost every modern electrical device has one of these always-lit LEDs. Heres a few examples; Laptop computers, servers, cell-phone chargers, battery chargers, air conditioners, televisions, cable-television box, digital-television antenna, DVD and blue-ray disk players, digital thermostats, ovens, washing machines, dryers, AC power-strips, and even some refrigerators.
Here is a simple solution: all you need is a power-strip with an on/off switch (preferably one that does not have an LED in the switch so that it lights up when the power-strip is on). Most power strips have two holes in the back so that you can mount it on a wall. This can be handy because you can mount it in a convenient location. Just plug the power-strip into the wall-socket and plug your electrical devices like your TV and DVD player into the power-strip. This will allow you to completely turn off appliances just by flicking off a switch when you are finished with them.
NOTE: some devices still consume power even if they don't have a power indicator LED. You can check your appliances that you leave plunged in to see if they are waisting electricity by placing your hand on them and feeling for warm spots. These are spots where there is large transistors, resistors and power transformers that are converting electricity into heat.
Shutting off your electronics will also extend their life. Most electronic devices and appliances are designed to have a specific lifespan, so they are only built to last so many years. By turning of electronics like your TV and Computer when you are not using them and making sure that the device is not secretly consuming electricity you reduce the excess heat which can damage silicon in transistors and Integrated Circuits.