The impact of using electrical devices is in part determined by the mode of generation used to produce the electricity they consume. One measure of the environmental impact of using electricity is to look at its “carbon content.” The carbon content depends on a number of factors: the blend of generators—coal, oil, gas, nuclear, or renewable energy—used to supply the power and the efficiency of those generators and any losses in the system. Increasing the grid penetration of renewable energy will reduce the carbon intensity of grid electricity.

Many electrical devices have a “soft off,” which enables a device to appear to be off while it is actually powered down to a “standby” mode. Although this provides some marginal benefit to the consumer—the ability to switch ...

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