... the UN's report from several years ago that devices on "standby" are drawing a substantial chunk of our energy resources.
I'm not sure if I'd agree that it's so "substantial". There's a report in the latest issue of Home Power magazine
that examines the issue of "standby" energy loss.
Some quick numbers:
Avg US home has 40-60W of continuous phantom loads = 1.2 KWH/day.
Avg US home uses 36 KWH/day; 4% is wasted on standby power.
Based on the above, the article states that the standby waste from 122 million US homes is enough energy to run all Australian homes. (Well, that's mostly a numbers game -- the standby waste from all the Australian homes is enough to run all the homes in Brunei.)
Residential electricity consumption in the US is around 36% of the total. So if EVERY
home reduced its consumption by 4%, the net result to total electricity consumption would be a drop of something like 1.3%. That sounds pretty good, but remember, everyone
has to do it.
Also, electricity is only one form of energy used by the average household. A single car represents at least 50% of a typical household's total energy consumption. If there's more than one car, you can be assured that the energy consumption of those cars is double that of the electricity in the home.
Finally, if you consider energy consumption in general, electricity consumption is substantially lower (as a percentage of total energy consumption) than direct burning of fossil fuel for transportation -- cars, planes, ships, trains.
I guess what I am saying is that the typical 40-60W waster per household we're talking about really represents a drop in the bucket.
But it's true that every drop counts, especially when there are so many leaks.