Green Wednesday: 5 Small but Smart Energy Saving Gadgets

From on April 02, 2008 in Green Remodeling

Rechargeable BatteryHigh-tech gadgetry is everywhere, especially in the home. According to one report, demand for home entertainment goods is only increasing, and by 2020 this demand will take the equivalent of 14 power stations to run. But this Green Wednesday post is about gadgets of another sort: those that help conserve energy rather than drain it. They’re also practical – rather than adding to your unused gadget collection, these devices are handy for everyday use.

Smart Power Strips

We all know about vampire electronics that use up energy even when they’re off. Consumer electronics continue to use 25 percent of their power while PCs drain 85 percent – while not in use. One solution is to unplug and replug your electronics on a regular basis, but how practical is that, especially for those outlets located behind heavy furniture? To help reduce your phantom loads, try using smart power strips that help put idle currents to a stop. Your options include the IntelliPanel and the WattStopper.

Programmable Thermostat

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, adjusting your thermostats can save you 10 percent a year on heating and cooling bills. This is done simply by turning them back 10 to 15 percent for 8 hours. Do this automatically with programmable thermostats that can be set with on and off times and desired temperatures. Be sure to install your thermostat along an inside wall away from exposure to sunlight or fireplaces. Programmable thermostats are available through Energy Star.

Rechargeable Batteries

Every year, about 20,000 batteries fill our landfills. To power your electric toothbrush, razor, or other battery-powered electronics, why not use rechargeable batteries? There’s a new, AA variety out there, which doesn’t require an additional device to recharge. Simply plug the USBCELL into any USB port to power it up.

Light Sensors

Light switches and other sensored devices can be installed in any room of the house, detecting when your lights or fans are not in use and turning them off for you on forgetful days when you leave the room without doing so yourself. Try on the Watt Stopper, for instance.

Solar Chargers

If you want to keep your electronics off the grid altogether, consider purchasing a solar charger, such as the Solio. Perfect for juicing up your laptop and iPod, without the utility company.