"One of the interesting initiatives we've taken in Washington, D.C., is we've got these vampire-busting devices. A vampire is a ... a cell deal you can plug in the wall to charge your cell phone."
- George W. Bush, Denver Colorado, August 14, 2001
What the shrub was trying to get out was a reference to a fact sheet released by his administration on June 28, 2001. In it, "vampire" devices were defined as, in effect, electrical appliances which draw energy even while not in use. These devices fall into a wide spectrum, from AC to DC transformers which keep current flowing through a coil even when their given device is turned off, to televisions and monitors which keep certain components warmed up to provide "instant on" capability. In the above quote, Bush (more or less) specifically mentions cell phone chargers, a form of transformer left plugged in to the wall semi-permanently but generally only used overnight.
Going by US government numbers -- which may or may not have any basis in consensus reality -- each vampire device generally consumes between four and seven watts per hour, adding up nationwide to an energy drain that takes roughly 26 power plants to fulfill. The fact sheet also documents what would happen if these devices were replaced by so-called "Vampire Slayers", more efficient forms of standby power that consume one watt or less of energy per hour. Specifically, it states that we would need 20 fewer power plants, and that on the whole US households would save between $1 to 2 billion on their energy bills annually.
Acting as a vanguard for nationwide acceptance of these Vampire Slayers, the Bush administration will direct procurement officers to buy devices using them whenever practical. This will not only be a boon to the manufacturers of the devices, but save the government millions of dollars of energy wasted and resources depleted. Also, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency will be encouraged to roll the 1-watt standby rule into their Energy Star standards program, which is accepted by many appliance makers for technology destined for US use. To further encourage movement to the 1-watt standard, tax breaks will be awarded to companies which adopt it, and workshops will be run demonstrating the savings and relative low cost of adoption. There is talk of a demographically targeted campaign to encourage shoppers to look for low power standby devices, though detail is virtually nonexistent in the fact sheet.
For now, the sheet itself may be read at: http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/global/environ/01062804.htm