Phantom Precautions

“Could you please let me into room 104, I am locked out”  and “The electricity is broken in my room, can you fix it?” are the questions I found myself asking the receptionist at the An Cruiscin Lán Hotel in Spiddal Village, Galway, Ireland three times on the first day of our stay there. While our two night stay at the An Cruiscin Lán Hotel I locked myself out multiple times, one may ask how is that possible.  The doors to the rooms at the An Cruiscin Lán Hotel locked automatically and I never carried the key when stepping out the room for a quick minute. Not only was the automatic lock system something I was not used to, but also the fact that the key needed to be inserted into a slot inside the room in order for the room’s electricity to run. However during this 14 day trip around the west coast of Ireland I also had to adapt to having flip switches to turn on the electricity for wall sockets.The reason why these two systems exist is because even if everything is “off”  there is still Phantom usage/ standby power usage occurring. Phantom Usage  according to Trent Hamm is when there is still a small amount of energy running through a device when plugged into the wall socket but the item is not in use. Phantom Usage accounts for 5 to 10 percent of the energy usage in a household, averaging $100 per year in US homes according to John Chu . I overheard a conversation while at the Inis Oirr hostel that electricity in Ireland is more expensive than in the United States and has become more expensive over the years, which may just be why Ireland has taken the precautions into saving energy.

Even though similar precautions are needed to save energy in the United States and should be taken as soon as possible, it may be difficult due to the number of Individuals who use energy excessively. I am one of those individuals to use energy excessively as I sleep with my lamp on and usually leave the air-conditioner on all day during the summer season. I also use plenty of standby energy in which I leave everything plugged into the wall sockets all year around; for example, I leave my television plugged in  all year around even though I only use it 6-8 times a year.  However, Ireland has showed me how excessive I use energy and that if the precautions are taken in the United States I can be the one telling others to just flip the switch on.



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