Consumption, Ethical Choices, Life in Paris

Other What?

In my post on our electricity consumption and the great LED switch of 2017, I mentioned that we spend quite a lot of energy (and money) on a mysterious “other” category.

But what exactly is “other”?

Good question.

EDF’s “other” category seems to tabulate electricity used by anything that is plugged into a socket that is not connected to the light switch, or into the dedicated switch for the refrigerator and oven. For example, the lamps that are plugged in and turn on with the switch don’t count, but our beside lamp and Holmo lamps are “other” appliances.

Here’s the roundup of plugs by room: 

Bedroom: two power strips, one Apple phone charger, one Apple laptop charger, one Samsung phone charger, one fan, one bedside lamp, and one Ikea Holmo lamp. 

Living room: one Ikea Holmo lamp, one power strip, one computer tower, two computer screens, one set of speakers, one wifi box and one wifi router. 

Kitchen: one toaster and one microwave, occasionally the bullet blender.

There’s nothing plugged in at the bathroom aside from the dryer, but only when in use (and not in the other category). Our apartment is small, about 382 square feet, so we’re brainstorming ways to get our “other” electricity consumption under control now that we know what we’ve got plugged in.

I looked into getting a solar charger for our phones. As I leave the shades open all day, we get quite a lot of light in the apartment. It is certainly enough to power a little solar charger, but they are not readily available in a brick-and-mortar shop near me. I am debating saving my money to order one from the internet, but I’d really prefer to see one in person and ask a bunch of questions like, “will it burn my house down on accident?”

You know, the little things.

For now, here are the ways we’re reducing “other” consumption :

1) Using more power strips : it may seem counter intuitive, but we’re hooking up most of the stray electronics to three power strips. Two in the bedroom and one in the living room. That way, as I’m making the bed in the morning and heading out the door, I can just yank them out of their sockets or switch them off (2/3 of them have their own dedicated power buttons) and bam! No more passive energy consumption.

2) Switching to LED lights : as I wrote a few posts ago, the lamps that use non-light switch plugs are classified as “other,” so using LED bulbs in these lamps will help reduce the “other” category consumption!

3) Limit overnight charging : one of the easy ways to use more electricity than we need is to leave our phones, laptops, or tablets on their chargers over night. I try to only charge my phone and laptop while I am awake; I feel that leaving a device with a full charge on the charger will degrade the battery. Still, I am not as careful with our tablets. By working on charging our devices only as much as they need, and taking them off their chargers once they are at 100%, we can limit any negative impacts on their batteries and on our electricity consumption.

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3 thoughts on “Other What?”

  1. Good luck on your journey towards sustainability 🙂 Here’s a post that looks at electricity use for various appliances. It also mentions “phantom” power use – many modern appliances use very

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    1. Hey jkaybay! I wish my appliances were younger than 5 years 🙂 We inherited everything except for the microwave and toaster, so the oven, washer/dryer, and fridge all came from E’s childhood apartment. By our estimate, they’re at least 16 years old! Thanks for the tips, I’ll definitely keep your post in mind when we eventually need to replace something.

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