Living Sustainably: HBPW wants to snuff out vampire power

By Morgan Kelley, Holland Board of Public Works
Being smart about your energy use is not only easy, but saves you money.
The Energy Waste Reduction programs offered by Holland Board of Public Works seek to meet goals in the City of Holland’s Community Energy Plan and Sustainability Framework by promoting affordability, sustainability, and energy efficiency for residents and businesses.
One simple step is snuffing out phantom power. Many appliances use energy when plugged in, even while they are turned off. In fact, that phantom power, also known as vampire or standby power, costs the average U.S. household $100 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Smart power strips are intelligent surge protectors that sense usage and automatically shut off electricity to devices that are not being used. For example, if a TV is plugged in to the master outlet, and the DVD player, gaming system, and sound system are plugged into strip outlets controlled by the master outlet, the flow of electricity will be cut to all devices when the TV is turned off. Older, traditional power strip outlets are either all on or all off. (Smart power strips also have always-on outlets for devices that must always be on, such as an air purifier or dehumidifier.)
The Holland Board of Public Works is promoting wise use of energy this month with a fun, festive Halloween giveaway at its Service Center, 625 Hastings Ave, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22.  While the supply lasts, each HBPW residential electric customer is eligible for one smart power strip.
To reduce your phantom load, help the environment and save money, come claim your smart power strip. We also will have candy, stickers, coloring pages, and a surprise guest, so be sure to stop by!
Also, until the end of the year, Holland BPW is doubling – to $50 – the rebate on Energy Star air purifiers. Air purifiers help keep your home air free of harmful pollutants as you close up your home for colder weather. In fact, indoor air pollution is two to five times worse than outdoor air pollution. Air purifiers provide the most effective health benefits when constantly turned on, so it is important to select a product that is energy efficient. The offer is valid on air purifiers purchased between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018. Visit for more information.
HBPW’s other, year-round residential energy saving programs include Appliance Rebates, Appliance Recycling, Energy Star New Home Rebates, Free Home Energy Check-Ups, and an Income Qualified Refrigerator Replacement Program. And product giveaways provide energy efficient products for customers to try.
Stay up-to-date on our giveaway events by following us on social media. For more information visit: .

 Morgan Kelley is conservation programs specialist at Holland Board of Public Works and leads the residential energy waste reduction and water conservation programs.

If You Go
What: Holland Board of Public Works Halloween Giveaway
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22
Where: HBPW Service Center, 625 Hastings Ave., Holland
Who: Any HBPW residential electric customer.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Smart Energy: We need to use both conservation and efficiency measures to manage our resources to provide access to reliable and cost-effective energy.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.