Standby Power | Phantom Power Consumption

Standby Power, or Phantom Power, is the consumption of power when an electronic device is assumed to be off, but in actuality, it’s ready to be used. If you take a look around your home or office, you will find devices you use on a daily basis – smartphone, TV, PVR, etc. When you switch these devices “off”, the screen turns black, but what is really happening?


The truth is that a lot of devices go into standby mode and will still consume “standby power”. According to Natural Resources Canada, “standby power consumption can account for 5 to 10% of a household’s electricity bill”.


We live and work in a time when we’re constantly connected via our devices, which means they are constantly working and consuming energy to keep us connected. “Although the energy efficiency of these products keeps improving, the sheer volume of electronic products used at home and at work across Canada has grown significantly over the last decade. This means we’re using more and more electricity” (Natural Resources Canada).


The truth is, we’re always on standby… waiting for that next message to reach us.


This standby power consumption is magnified when on Network-enabled standby, “the energy used by a product when it remains connected to the internet while no primary function is being performed. Network standby is applicable to both network equipment (e.g. modems, routers, switches) and connected products” (Natural Resources Canada). 


The idea that our devices are not using energy when they are not in use becomes a myth under the realisation that “network-enabled devices can draw as much power in their standby mode as when fully activated” (Natural Resources Canada).




Use Advanced Power Bars


“Advanced power bars can help save electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some power bars can be put on timers to cut the power at a set time. Other “smart” power bars have a “master” plug socket and “slave” plug sockets. Plug the TV into the master socket and plug all other devices used with the TV, such as DVD players and video game systems, into the slave sockets. When you turn off the TV, the smart power bar cuts power to the devices plugged into the slave sockets, automatically saving energy and reducing your electricity costs” (Natural Resources Canada). 




An alternative to a power bar is to unplug completely. Think about the products you use every day, such as your coffee machine. When it’s turned “off”, do any lights remain on? Often a device on standby mode will leave a light on, consuming energy while it’s not in use. This is a quick fix. Unplug everyday items when they’re not being used. Keep this in mind the next time you go on vacation as well. Unplug as many devices as you can to avoid unnecessary energy expenses while you’re in another part of the world.


Review & Adjust power settings on devices


Take a few minutes to review the settings on your devices. Understand what is actually happening with your device based on its default power settings, and adjust settings based on your use.




Products with an ENERGY STAR symbol have been tested and certified as more energy efficient than other models, and will, therefore, consume less standby power.


Educate yourself about your “smart” devices


Before you make your next big purchase, take some time to think about the product you’re buying, how much it will be used, and what it will connect to.



Newsletter subscription

Yes, I consent to receiving CIET communications. I understand that I may unsubscribe at any time.

Share your training needs with us!

Would you like to be trained on a specific topic? Just let us know!

mailExpress my interest

Certified Energy Auditor (CEA)

Certified Energy Manager (CEM)

Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP®)

Certified RETScreen® Expert (CRE)

Advanced Course on Building Recommissioning (RCx)

Introduction to RCx for Building Owners & Managers – Dollars to $ense Workshop

Certified Building Commissioning Professsional (CBCP)

Energy Efficiency for Building Operators & Maintenance Staff

1-Day Energy Efficiency for Building Operators & Maintenance Staff (EEBO) – Dollars to $ense Workshop

Building Operator Certification Training (BOC)

Energy Management Professional 101 (EMP 101)- Dollars to $ense Workshop

Prep Course for the NRCan Foundation Level Exam

Prep Course for the NRCan ERS v15 Energy Advisor Exam

Heat Integration of Industrial Processes (HIIP)

Introduction to Building Energy Modelling in compliance with the NECB

Building Energy Modelling Professional – tools, software and compliance

Building Automation Systems Optimization Essentials – Dollars to $ense Workshop

Advanced Building Automation Systems Optimization – Dollars to $ense Workshop

Taking Control of Energy Use to Improve Financial Performance – Dollars to $ense Workshop

Making the case for Energy Efficiency – Dollars to $ense Workshop

Dollars to $ense Energy Management Workshops

1-Day Best Practices of ICI Energy Management – Dollars to $ense Workshop

Introduction to Combined Heat and Power

Fundamentals of Compressed Air Systems

Advanced Management of Compressed Air Systems

Pump Systems Optimization

Energy Efficiency Financing: Understanding the mechanisms & resources to fund EE projects

Business implications of GHG regulations; risks and opportunities for energy and carbon management

ISO 50001 Standard Implementation Training

Introduction to Measurement and Verification (M&V)

Advanced Measurement and Verification

Energy Efficiency Program Design and Implementation

Energy Efficiency Program Evaluation

Motors, Variable Speed Drives and Energy Efficiency

Send us your question

Send us an email and we will respond as soon as possible.

Important COVID-19 Update for CIET Spring 2020 Training Calendar – CIET Goes Virtual!

Last Updated: April 21, 2020


CIET Goes Virtual!

The entire CIET team has been working hard recently to provide new training options for you through virtual real-time classrooms considering the current situation. This will allow everyone to continue accessing CIET training in a safe manner, which protects both our participants and our trainers. You can register for these virtual courses in confidence, knowing that they will provide the same quality of training that you expect from CIET. These real-time training sessions will be available to all participants across Canada.




You can find more information about CIET’s virtual training approach:

Postponement/cancellation policy

You can postpone your registration to a future session if desired, though we cannot yet determine how long the COVID-19 crisis will last. Indications from governments seem to indicate that isolation and travel restrictions might last for longer than we would like. For now, we propose keeping the registrations of all participants active. We will inform you of new dates as they become possible/available, including our new Fall 2020 training dates, which should be announced in May-June. Should you wish to cancel later, we have suspended our cancellation policy and there are no fees for any cancellation effective immediately.

Through all these measures, CIET hopes to provide as much flexibility as possible to training participants while respecting its commitments to other participants, trainers and partners, as well as public health recommendations.

 We thank you very much for your trust and collaboration and look forward to welcoming you in our virtual classrooms!


Best regards,

The CIET Team
647 255-3107