Does unplugging chargers really save energy?

In the middle of the ecological and economic crisis, do small daily gestures really help to improve the situation? For example, many of us do not unplug our chargers from outlets when no device is powered.

Does changing this habit really allow us to consume less electricity? Are there real savings by unplugging these chargers? While a triple crisis (economic, energy and ecological) hits us hard, we have studied this issue.

Unplug your chargers, an ecological gesture?

According to the Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe)chargers that remain plugged into an outlet consume power. Unplugging them is therefore necessarily an ecological gesture.

Furthermore, Ademe even specifies that a charged phone but still connected to the charger causes it to consume energy. It all depends on the charger used.

Over time, manufacturers have filled their chargers with technologies that greatly reduce their power consumption. These so-called “smart” chargers are even capable of reducing their consumption to almost “zero” when they remain plugged in or when the phone is fully charged. To know how much a charger consumes, there are wattmeters that measure the actual consumption of said charger.

Suppose you don’t have a state-of-the-art charger. In this case, Engie estimates that 6 chargers connected to a power strip consume 0.3 watts per hour when they are not powering any device. This represents 2.6 kWh per year. A grain of sand in the annual consumption of a French household.

In fact, according to an analysis by the Energy Regulatory Commission dating back to 2016, the average electricity consumption per month per household in France is 390 kWh, or 4,679 kWh per year.

Unplug your chargers to save money?

As you may have understood, although disconnecting the chargers of a house is still an ecological gesture, there is a tiny nothing left among the ecological challenges that we must take on. And from an economic point of view then?

Waiting to know the new energy rates, the price of a kWh amounts to an average of 0.1740 euros including taxes for an individual at the time of this writing. So, let’s take the example of a power strip with 6 chargers connected continuously, consuming 2.6 kWh per year. By disconnecting them we would save 0.45 euros per year.

Even assuming that there are a dozen power strips in your home and that all these power strips support six chargers plugged in continuously, the savings by unplugging them would be 4.5 euros per year.

As you may have understood, in absolute terms, disconnecting your chargers allows you to save energy. However, both from an ecological and economic point of view, the impact of this small gesture remains anecdotal to the challenges we face. But after all, why not? It costs nothing.

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