ecoCaledon

environmental citizens organization

Smart power bars-

Recently in Caledon we got a booklet in the mail  from the Ontario Power Authority, full of coupons for energy saving devices. I’ll cover a few of these in the next few blogs.

One of them is particularly cool-  a $4 coupon for Smart power bars.

Many household electronics draw power 24-7, even though we don’t use them all the time.

The list includes almost all gadgets, chargers, devices, internet hubs and wifi networks, computer peripherals, DVD players, TVs, PVRs, stereos and MP3 players, microwave ovens, anything with a clock, etc.

Some power bars have built-in timers, so they can shut off overnight or when not in use. For computer networks, shutting down when not in use  can reduce hacking as well as save money and reduce air pollution from energy generation. I have several of these at work, so our whole system shuts down overnight.

Smart power bars are even better, as they can shut selected outlets off automatically. You could have your TV and peripherals on the smart outlet, but keep the PVR running all the time to record programs overnight.

 The Smart Strip monitors power consumption and can sense the difference between when computers and other devices are on or off. Upon figuring this out, it shuts off the power, eliminating the idle current drawn from them. There are a couple different models and options (including fax/modem and something called “extended sensing”) and they run from US $32 to $35; Smart Strip claims it will pay for itself in as little as six weeks. Here is their website.

The Wattstopper has six outlets controlled by occupancy and two outlets which are normal, and use a motion detector of sorts to monitor and manage energy use. Devices plugged into the controlled outlets are turned on and off based on occupancy, or the fact that they’re currently using energy. The “Personal Sensor” connects to the power strip, and automatically turns power to all connected devices on when the accessories and peripherals are in use. These devices will turn off after they go idle and the user-defined time delay elapses (anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes). Priced at US $90,  Website.

-Richard Ehrlich

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