07 July 2010

There's no such thing as stand-by in our house....


As soon as those words were out of my mouth I just knew they'd come back to bit me!  I said them in an interview for ACA yesterday (it aired last night http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=7928282) and as soon as the kids heard those words they started. Apparently I am always telling them to stand by for their washing to put away, or dinner, or for a chore that needs to be done or to take the rubbish out or the compost to the bucket or something.

So I apologise, there is such a thing as stand-by in our house.

It's just not connected to the electricity. The stand-by I was talking about was the one on our electric appliances. Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of being able to sit in my chair and change channels and turn the TV on and off. And I love that all I have to do is push start on the microwave, and that my computer wakes up when I move the mouse. But those little conveniences come at a rather hefty cost.

Apart from the fact that remote controls and stand-by mode have made me a tad lazy, the "off" position  isn't really off. It's just an alias -  a pretend "off" so we think it's really off and not using any power! I wonder if someone from Zenith Radio Corporation (credited with inventing the TV remote control back in the 1950's) colluded with someone from the power company to come up with the alias off on appliances. Funnily enough, the first TV remote control was called the Lazy Bones and sold like hotcakes.

Nowadays there is a whole generation that doesn't know that televisions can be turned off simply by pushing a button on the set.  Unfortunately they do understand that many of the appliances they use on a daily basis can only be fully functional by remote control.

The debate over how much power and money (if any) is saved by turning appliances off at the wall rages continually. From my own personal experience it makes a big difference. The trick in our house was getting everyone to join in.

Every morning along with "have you packed your lunch" I would say (actually I still say it) "have you turned the power point off" as the kids were ready to walk out the door.

Now they do it out of habit. And it has worked. The price of electricity has risen in the past twelve months, considerably, but the bill has dropped and our daily usage has dropped too.  And I don't need any other convincing. The proof is in our bank account.

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