But how much do we actually spend on energy that is literally doing nothing for us?
Having looked at the benefits of farming the wind, the latest episode of Robert Llewellyn's Fully Charged show looks at how much energy we lose from appliances on standby power, and a few ways we can quantify those losses and make changes to our behavior.
From a basic energy monitor to a family installing a smart meter, it's clear that simple feedback mechanisms can have a huge impact on household behavior. Of course opposition to smart meters has been growing in some regions, but from my perspective I would love to have some transparency as to how much I money I am sending my utility each time I make a cup of coffee.
If the demand for cheap energy really is entitlement culture gone mad, then the rise of smart meters and energy monitors may just be our path to becoming independent, responsible adults.
Beware perverse and unexpected consequences though—I am not sure there is either environmental or fiscal benefit in switching from a plug in alarm clock to a battery operated one, as one interviewee appears to have done.