I just checked the power consumption on my computer and there are some startling results.
Just using the computer under normal circumstances, no peripherals, 200 watts.
With second monitor on, printer on, not printing, speakers on but not playing, 375.
Running everything at once, including playing TobyMac loud, and printing peaked at over 1300 watts for a second, then dropped to 6-700 until the printer stopped. To be fair, I do have a HP office size laser printer, so it uses a bit of power getting warmed up and printing. Fortunately it only uses 15 watts while in standby, and it remains completely off the vast majority of the time.
Right now, blogging and listening to some music I'm pulling about 270 watts which is far far too much. I bought this computer originally some time around 2001 and have continuously upgraded it from time to time since then. So even if I turn off the monitor (I don't have a screen saver to save power) it still sucks 130 watts. My puter never got the energy efficiency upgrades that all the new ones have like quiet fans and new processors. So we are saving up for a new desktop anyway, I just didn't know how much energy efficiency would play into it. No wonder this room is always about five degrees hotter than the rest of the house.
Another thing to remember is that any power generated in your house also has to be removed by the air conditioner in the summer. So with average energy efficiencies, my 270 watt computer is actually consuming more like 360 watts when you include the AC. An even more complicated system is the refrigerator. It uses 200 watts which means while it's on, it is pushing perhaps 500 or more watts of heat into the house which then also must be removed by the AC at a further cost of nearly 200 watts. Fortunately it doesn't run constantly. As you can see, energy efficiency is especially important in the summer because your air conditioning automatically adds another third to the energy used by any appliance, except the water heater, most of that just goes down the drain.
Think about it, if you have just three 100 watt light bulbs, you are actually using more than 400 watts. It takes only two and a half hours to rack up a kilowatt hour at that rate.
Sam's is very slowly expanding their repertoire of LED bulbs, and they are even better than the CFL's because each bulb saves something like $130 over its lifetime.
More news: I saw a new OLED tv at Sam's the other day and though they still are around $2600, I will have one one day. I walked up to the screen (which was playing Madagascar 2) and my jaw dropped open. It was literally the best picture I have ever seen on a TV ever. It was so clear and vivid and fast. You could see every whisker on all the animals, there was no blur or artifacts at all. The best part is that they are very energy efficient as well as having a wide viewing angle. I have got to get me one'a deez!
Holy crap that was a nice TV.