| Credit: James Baigrie

  • Unplug DVD players and TVs, or plug them all into a power strip you can switch off. Sixty to 80 percent of the electricity they use is consumed while they’re idle, powering light displays and “instant on” features (such as the remote’s ability to talk to the TV).
  • Unplug “wall warts,” or plugs attached to a black transformer box (like a cell-phone charger). If they are plugged into an outlet, they are sucking up electricity whether charging another device or not.
  • Ideally, unplug or turn off your computer when it’s not in use. If you can’t do this, use its power-saving sleep mode, which uses 60 to 80 percent less energy than full-power mode. Visit to learn how to activate your computer’s power-saving mode or to download free software that enables these options on computers that don’t have them. At the very least, turn your monitor off instead of using a screensaver.
  • Turn off printers, copiers, and fax machines when they’re not in use. Don’t rely on sleep mode.