We focused on 2 aspects of the environmental impact of single serve coffeemakers – electricity consumption and waste from used cups / pods. Extra electricity usage in the home leads to higher energy costs, and results in power plant energy production leading to air pollution. Non-recyclable single serve coffee cups / pods produce plastic waste over the product’s lifetime that can end up in landfills.
Energy- We found the most energy hungry units used more than 10x the energy of the most efficient units, equaling hundreds of dollars over the life of the machine. A big issue here is standby power, as many of these machines keep water hot for 24 hours unless powered off.
Waste- The average single serve unit owner who drinks 3 cups of coffee per day over 5 years would use enough disposable pods to stretch across 3 football fields. By using refillable pods, you can cut down on that waste, but lose the convenience many Americans demand. Some machines come with recyclable or compostable pods – so keep an eye out for those options.
For only a few cups of coffee a day, some single serve coffeemakers can save energy, offer more drink variety and produce faster results than an electric drip coffeemaker. On the other hand these units can produce lots of plastic waste. At larger quantities, an energy efficient 10-12 cup machine can produce coffee at a more efficient per cup rate – if you make and drink a full pot. Higher usage environments are likely to do better, environmentally speaking, with energy efficient 10-12 cup coffeemakers, albeit with less convenience and drink variety. Lower usage environments may do better with a single serve machine with regard to energy consumption, although each machine is slightly different.
Please see our blog on Ownership Costs to factor this in to your buying decision. And stay tuned for our release of Savenia Labs Energy Ratings on SIngle Serve Coffeemakers. In stores soon!
Congratulations to our first contest winner Deborah who came closest to guessing that there is a 400% difference in the vampire power usage between the best and worst performing microwaves among the top 20 most popular sold in the United States. For her winning entry, Deborah has taken home a new microwave, which she said she will give to one of her college age children.
Continue to keep an eye on our Contest homepage for more interesting research coming out of our labs and for a chance to win a Savenia Labs rated appliance. Who knows, the next winner could be you!
Savenia Labs is proud to announce the first winner of our Vampire Power Contest. We asked if you could guess the difference in vampire power usage between the best and worst microwaves on the market in the US (among the top 20 most popular). Guesses were all over the place – from as low as a few percent up to our winner’s guess of 72%. And even that was quite short. The actual answer? A whopping 433%.
We reported a few weeks ago that the clock on your microwave could cost you $30 over the microwave’s lifetime. By purchasing an energy efficient microwave you could cut that bill substantially. Added together with all your household appliances, vampire energy costs the average Marylander almost $200 per year. Make sure you check Savenia Labs’ Energy Ratings, available this fall, before you buy to know which microwaves and other appliances help you save money.
When our contest winner picks up her Savenia Labs rated microwave, we’ll tell you a little more about her. We thank everyone who entered this week’s contest and hope you’ll all enter next week for a chance to win another Savenia Labs rated appliance.
$185 per year. That’s the price tag every Maryland household pays each year to power their electronics when not in use. Now a new tech startup in Montgomery County is helping tackle the problem. Savenia Labs tests household electronics and provides information on each model’s energy usage – helping individuals and businesses cut back on their energy usage.
Leading up to their Fall 2011 launch, Savenia Labs is giving away a free Energy Rated appliance every week. Learn how you can save money and energy by making smart shopping decisions on www.facebook.com/SaveniaLabs.
Here at Savenia Labs, we’ve written a fair amount about Vampire Energy – the energy your electronics waste when you’re not even using them. For some devices – cell phones in particular – there’s a more active form of vampire energy. Many cell phones keep their functionality turned on all the time – Bluetooth, wifi, GPS, and a bright screen – many of which you don’t need access to every second of the day. So your phone goes on using energy to power those functions you don’t need. Katie Fehrenbacher from GigaOM tells us of a great new app for some HTC phones – PowerMax which turns off these features to reduce base energy usage without affecting the functionality of the phone.
For those other vampire power users in your home, here’s some advice on how to stop wasting energy. The easiest way to stake the vampire in your house is to buy products that use less vampire power by design. Look for products that save you energy this fall from Savenia Labs.
We all know the digital displays and clocks on your small appliances cost money to run, so how do you shut them off? We laboratory tested microwave ovens to find out. The only tip that we guarantee works on every product is to remove the power source. See our blog post on Top Four Ways to Reduce Vampire Power for some simple ways to do this. But are there other ways?
We found that on some models, unplugging the unit and then plugging it in again and not setting the clock resulted in either a blank screen or flashing dots, on some models a single zero appears and there are other variations. Each number in a digital clock is made up of light segments, so each number uses a different amount of electricity – a “0″ has six segments and a “1″ has just two. Lighting up each segment requires more power, so the less lights you have on your clock screen, the better. If after you re-set your appliance, it flashes “00:00″ continuously or streams “PLEASE SET CLOCK” continuously then you are likely using more power than with the clock alone. Wouldn’t it be great if small appliances could be shipped with the clock off, and you could turn them on if you needed another clock in your kitchen? Our calculations show that if all the microwaves Americans will buy this year come with clocks turned off, a coal fired powered plant can be taken off the grid every 3 years.
Giving Away 1 Lab Tested Appliance per week to Montgomery county residents
To countdown to our upcoming launch Savenia Labs is giving away a free Energy Rated appliance every week. To win a free microwave, toaster oven, or coffeemaker, like us on Facebook and enter there. At the end of each week we will announce a winner who can pick up his or her prize at the Bethesda Green office in Montgomery County, MD.
In the first week, win by coming closest to your guess of the percentage difference in energy usage between the most and least energy hungry microwaves among the top 20 sold in the US.
As temperatures in the DC region edged above 100 degrees and most residents cranked up their air conditioners, many feared the energy bill to come at the end of the month. How can you keep your energy bill down to manageable levels?
One easy way is to limit the amount of energy you waste powering appliances you’re not even using. True Blood has vampires, but your kitchen has vampire power. Vampire power is the power that appliances use when in standby mode – think of the clock on your microwave. As the New York Times has reported, standby power drives the power usage of certain home appliances – for example, DVR set top boxes consume more energy than an entire Energy Star refrigerator.
So what can you do about it? Here’s our list of the top four things you can do to kill the vampire in your home:
Buy appliances with low standby power energy demand
Put large appliances on smart strips
Put occasionally used appliances on power strips and turn them off when not in use
New ‘vampire power’ research from Savenia Labs helps consumers save energy and money.
New research shows that the most energy hungry microwaves on the market today cost as much as $30 to run when not in use – in large part due to the clock. These surprising early results were found after testing the top 20 microwave ovens sold in the United States at Savenia Labs, a University of MD Clark School of Engineering partner company in Bethesda, MD. ‘Vampire power’ also known as standby power was shown to consume more than 1/5th of a microwave’s total energy consumption over its lifetime.
When added to other appliances and electronics in your house, vampire power costs can add up to almost $200 per year for Maryland residents.
Savenia Labs recommends users choose a more efficient unit when possible and will be releasing energy ratings in Fall 2011 to help individuals and businesses make informed shopping decisions. For those who don’t need a new unit now, we offer this advice:
Unplug your microwave and when you plug it back in, don’t set the clock. Testing shows this can cut vampire power use by 50% in some units.
Unplug your small appliances when you go on vacation, or when not in use.
Use a smart strip to make it easy to power off your small appliances and home electronics when not in use.
For more information “Straight from the Lab”, money saving tips and a chance to win free appliances, follow Savenia Labs on Facebook, Twitter, or blog posts at www.savenialabs.com.