Killing Watts: Ghost Loads at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs

John E. Davis


Ghost loads (also known as phantom loads, vampire loads, standby power or leaking electricity) needlessly consume electricity when electronic devices are not in use, costing institutions money and needlessly sending tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. An analysis of computer and other ghost loads at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) was conducted in the Spring of 2009 with the results showing that computers annually cost the school $37,505.96-$45,017.56. The environmental impact of idle computers was calculated as 521.73-626.07 tons of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. These estimates are likely low since data was neither gathered on weekends, nor during the summer. Other potential sources of ghost loads are identified and strategies that could lead to lower costs and carbon emissions are presented.


UCCS, Ghost Loads, Carbon Footprint

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