Energy and consumption: how much does standby mode actually cost?

  • Stand-by operation costs 150 to 200 euros per year per household
  • Overall balance in Germany
  • Avoid stand-by mode

Disconnecting electronic devices from the mains to avoid going into stand-by mode is not worth it at all. This widespread opinion is incorrect: Neither when you look at your wallet, nor when you think about climate protection.

Stand-by operation costs 150 to 200 euros a year per household

dr Renate Kostrewaclimate protection manager from Filderstadt, near Stuttgart, recently worked in the CO2 and energy report calculated that household and electrical appliances for around 40 percent of electricity consumption are responsible in households.

In addition to large household appliances such as refrigerators and freezers, office appliances, i.e. computers and televisions, are at the forefront in terms of consumption. But: Around 30 percent of energy consumption is used for the stand-by operation of electronic devices. This results in the following calculation: In German households, 400 to 500 kilowatt hours per year are used just for stand-by operation, according to Kostrewa’s calculations. Depending on the electricity price, this results in costs of 150 to 200 euros per year.

It is therefore important not only to switch off the devices, but to pull the plug or alternatively to press the – hopefully existing – toggle switch on the extension cable.

The overall balance in Germany

check24, the online comparison portal, on the occasion of the Earth Hour on March 6th total bill for the Stand-by costs in Germany submitted. On this day, the lights in public buildings around the world will be switched off for an hour to draw attention to climate change. The company draws the following balance sheet:

  • Every year, all Germans waste about 10.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity to operate their electronic devices in stand-by mode (This area accounts for 8 percent of electricity consumption).
  • That corresponds to electricity costs of just under 504,000 euros per houraround 4.4 billion euros per year.
  • That’s a little less than one medium nuclear power plant generated annually (production output: 11 billion kWh).
  • Every hour, all German private households generate around 440,000 kilograms of CO2 emissions by electronics in sleep mode.

Avoid stand-by mode

Whenever possible, you should therefore avoid the stand-by mode. The internet platform has compiled Which devices have the highest stand-by consumption with a runtime of 20 hours per day and year:

  • Stereo system: 15 watts per day, 120 watts per year
  • TV (LCD): 14 watts per day, 112 watts per year
  • Computer, Monitor & Printer: 10 watts per day, 80 watts per year
  • Mobile phone charger: 5 watts per day, 40 watts per year

You can quickly interrupt the stand-by mode with a power strip that can be switched off. You can get a strip with six connections for less than 15 euros.

Conclusion: The stand-by mode harms the climate and is expensive. And: There are very few devices that need stand-by for technical reasons. Hence the clear recommendation: use stand-by as little as possible.

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