Interview with the AMPire


This episode, we meet a couple who is having trouble with Mr. V, the Energy Vampire. The three of them all live together but Mr. V keeps messing up the household appliances and causing conflicts because of his strange habits. It seems like he just cannot help himself when he is around an unused electric appliance.

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Mr. V is an energy vampire, energy vampires are real but not exactly like Mr. V. In real life energy vampires are appliances and electronics that use (or “suck in”) electricity when they are off, in standby mode, or not being used. Mr. V is a representation of this anomaly, he is a physical representation of an energy vampire who gets his power from appliances that use power while off.

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Energy vampires are important to look out for because they use electricity unnecessarily, leaving energy vampires unattended leads to a larger electric bill. Because most areas of America still rely on coal power for electricity generation, any electricity wasted translates into extra carbon emissions released into the atmosphere, accelerating global climate change. In this article, the United States Department of Energy explains in more detail how energy vampires could be inflating your power bill.

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According to this article by the Environmental Protection Agency, energy vampires cost Americans a nation-wide total of $10,000,000,000 (ten billion dollars!) a year from unused electricity. Energy vampires can take the form of nearly anything that plugs into an outlet. Any appliance that is not in use should be unplugged. Some of the most common household energy vampires are phone chargers, televisions, cable boxes, desktops, laptops, game systems, and everything that can be turned on with a wireless remote.

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One of the easiest ways to measure energy vampirism is to use an electricity monitor like P3 International’s “Kill A Watt“. Electricity monitors plug into outlets and you plug your appliance into the electricity monitor, similar to the way you use an AC adapter, this way the monitor can measure how much electricity is going through to the appliance. You can check if your electronic appliance sucks extra power while it is off by plugging it into an electricity monitor and keeping the appliance turned off. Usually, numbers will show up on the electricity monitor to show how much power is being used. If nothing shows up, that means that appliance does not use electricity while it is off, but if numbers do show up, that means you have caught an energy vampire! If you cannot find any way to get an electricity monitor, you can also see a complete breakdown of most common household electronics by searching for your appliance in the EPA’s Energy Star product database. By using this database, you can also compare your appliances to some of the more efficient options.

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Once an energy vampire has been tracked down, anyone can stop it from sucking electricity. The easiest way is to stop an energy vampire is to unplug it when it is off or not in use, this completely removes the vampire’s ability to get power. Another way Green Ninjas can stop energy vampires is by selling or recycling old and unused electronics so they will not be left plugged in. Grown up Green Ninjas can get save even more electricity by replacing old appliances with Energy Star approved appliances which are built to be more efficient. By combining these three strategies, any Green Ninja can significantly reduce electrical waste. Vanquishing energy vampires helps save the planet and it also saves money!




Director: Dave Chai

Producer: Maaike Scherff

Editor: Keith Silva

Intro by: Mark Wanninger & Michael Salmassian

Cast: Crystal Cheng, Betty Gonzalo, Marcos Gonzalo, and Raymundo Mendoza

Story by: Emily Little

Film Crew: Mike Cascino, Crystal Cheng, Jordel Hurlow, Rikuto Sekiguchi, Mark Sho


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