Any net zero-energy home or business must zealously guard against phantom loads—energy that is gobbled up even when equipment is turned “off.” To slay these energy wasters, we plug our photocopy/fax machine and every computer into power strips that are switched off every night. All devices with wall cubes are also plugged into power strips. We even went so far as to do away with a doorbell, and selected a microwave that does not have an LED clock. The building is as phantom-proof as we know how to make it.
An exception—over coffee—was almost made when office java drinkers organized and requested an automatic coffee maker. Brewing coffee and keeping it hot all day was not something I was excited about, especially since I’m not a coffee drinker. But we compromised—I allowed the coffee maker, but only on the grounds that it is turned off immediately after coffee is brewed, and the coffee is transferred into an insulated dispenser that keeps it warm all day.