Emerging Solutions to the Standby Power Problem
Despite technical advances in efficiency, devices in standby continue to consume a
significant amount of energy. Finding practical, cost-effective reductions is difficult. While the
power consumption per unit has fallen, the number of units continuously drawing power
continues to grow.
This work investigates a family of technologies that offers a means of greatly reducing
standby consumption in many types of electrical products. The underlying principle involves
producing a wake-up signal just before service is needed. The wake-up signal activates a footer
switch, which connects the device to the power supply. This work studies and prototypes several
methods of generating the wake-up signal. The first generates a wake-up signal from harvested
light energy and is applicable to remote-controlled devices with a line of sight activation, such as set-top boxes, ceiling fans, and motorized curtains. The second method uses an RF-based wake-up signal to activate a wake-up radio and is applicable to any wireless products. No single technology will address all standby power situations; however, these emerging solutions appear to have broad applicability to save standby energy in miscellaneous loads.