Cellphone chargers are ruining the environment

Natural Philosophy Professor David J.C. MacKay at the University of Cambridge has posted a 409 page rough draft of his book on sustainable energy. Called “Sustainable Energy-without the hot air,” the guide debunks myths about ‘green’ energy sources and make consumption easily quantifiable and comparable by expressing the energy use of everyday activities such as driving a car and taking a bath. MacKay also discusses the pros and cons of larger national strategies for reducing fossil fuel dependency.

MacKay has also recently published research about just how much energy is wasted leaving cell phone chargers plugged in, while not charging a phone. Refuting media reports that leaving phone chargers plugged in could be one of society’s greatest environmental evils, MacKay found that to register one watt of power he needed to plug in three phone chargers, a laptop’ power supply, a pocket PC charger and a battery-charger for 4 AA batteries. He concluded that phone chargers consume less than 0.5W when left plugged in—the total power consumption of the average Brit is 5000W. (Including car driving, home heating, and so forth, not just electricity.) So much for unplugging that phone to do your part.

MacKay also has a blog