Most people are unaware of the sneaky power thieves that reside in their homes. The truth is that even when your television/cablebox/DVD player is “off,” it’s still drawing electricity all day every day. (The clue is the little red light on the front of the unit.) However, short of turning everything completely off switch by switch, there are several nifty gadgets that can help to eliminate this silent energy use.
The first is a little monitor by Belkin called the Conserve Insight coming to stores in September. It allows you to identify the worst offenders in the home by measuring the amount of energy a particular appliance draws. The readout offers estimates for the costs in dollars, kilowatts or carbon footprint. Another Belkin product is a smart power strip that automatically shuts off components like the DVR, cable box or DVD player when the main television is turned off.
Another useful energy saver is the Lutron Maestro Ecotimer (at right)that automatically shuts off power based on a timer with a range of 1 to 30 minutes. It’s great for bathroom fans, hallway or entryway lighting.
If you’re interested in a bigger picture of your energy consumption, it might be worthwhile to check out Earth Aid, a free service that coordinates with your utilities accounts and shows electricity, gas and water use in colorful graphics. The site offers rewards for reducing your energy consumption and provides a wealth of concrete energy saving tips, as well.