Understanding the Smart Power Strip in the Eco Friendly Home

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Is it worth your while investing in a Smart Power Strip?

The majority of us these days are conscious of the amount of energy we use in our homes and now many people are using smart power strips to lower consumption.

Awareness of household energy consumption is important due to the impact on the environment and how much our bills cost.

Whilst many of us kit out our homes with energy saving devices, turn lights out, insulate roofs etc. there are still deep, dark corners in each room draining huge amounts of energy

This drain is due to the way regular powerstrips, also known as extension leads sockets and plugs work.

Even when the devices that are plugged into the powerstrip are switched off they can continue to draw power.

This energy being drawn and not being used is known as a vampire load (see below) and all it is doing is costing you money!

According to research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory these vampire loads can account for 10% of the average household’s energy bills every year. (Source)

These statistics go to prove how important tackling this issue has become for the environment and our bank balances!

Luckily, the solution is simple. It is as easy as replacing your existing powerstrips with more advanced smart power strips.

There are very many different types of the smart power strip but the one thing they all do is to reduce the amount of energy being wasted by devices.

Changing to this smarter power strip is all you need to do and you can carry on using all of your electrical devices in exactly the same way.

So, how do these smart power strips work differently to regular ones?

All have master outlets that are powered on all the time and then extra outlets, sometimes up to 12, that are controlled to automatically switch on or off according to the master outlet.

The master outlets are used for devices you would like on most of the time such as computers and televisions.

The other outlets are used for devices used less often such as DVD players and games consoles.

Having the ability to automatically cut power to the secondary devices in your household means they will not continue to draw power once switched off.

In turn this will save energy and reduce your bills

Before we take a look at the different types of smart power strip available I would like to clear up some confusion over names.

What is the difference between the Advanced Power Strip and the Smart Power Strip.

Each manufacturer provides different features (along with differing feature names)

Confusion reigns

Add to this the fact that some also supply multi functional power strips (combining some or all the features of both basic types) 

Providing anti surge protection for instance does not help cut the energy you may be wasting.

Smart Power Strip Features

Generally speaking a smart power strip refers to those power strips that are automatic in turning connected electrical ware on and off when not in use, thereby reducing energy waste and saving you money.

But in some products this can be a manual switching action or controlled remotely, therefore maybe, not that smart.

Some turn off on a timer, others turn off by detecting whether or not the equipment is still in use. Always try and make sure that the smart strip is automatic and not manually operated.

Advanced Power Strip Features

Whereas advanced power strips often refer to the power strips that give anti surge protection for computers, printers, broadband modems, home theatre systems and other electronics equipment etc.

With some offering USB connections for recharging and also ethernet, telephone lines and coaxial connections surge protection. Offering no reduction in energy waste.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It’s the smart power strip you want that may or may not also include some features of the advanced power strip.

Whilst researching this article I have found this does all lead to confusion as there can also be an overlap of features maybe resulting in buyers unwittingly purchasing the wrong product.

These are some of the product description names I have come across:

  • Smart Power Surge Strips
  • Energy Savings Surge Strips
  • Auto Power off Plug Banks
  • Advanced power strips (APS)
  • Green Power Strip

Don’t get bogged down with names and instead choose the best power strip for your needs.

If you are unsure of what type of eco friendly smart power strip to buy, from research there appears to be three main types.

The most common types of these power strips used, especially in offices, are timer controlled strips.

These strips simply switch on and off with a timer and are thought to be the most energy efficient smart power strip.

There are also occupancy sensing strips that work by using a sensor to shut off devices when no one is present.

The third type of energy saving power strip is the current sensing strip.

These work by sensing when equipment is in low power mode and shutting them down.

Four of the more popular brands supplying the smart power strip

Belkin

This high end electronics company make smart power strips with multiple connection outlets.

Belkin use the description Conserve as is shown in the product Belkin Conserve Socket with Energy Saving Outlet here.

Many of their advanced power strips also feature Ethernet and Phone Line Protection making sure your phone and internet are protected from power surge and never drops out for added convenience.

Some models offer up to 4000 Joules of protection making them ideal for business and commercial use.

Monster

The smart power strips from Monster give up to 2000+ Joules of protection.

Most of their models including this one Monster MP AV 775G Audio Video PowerCenter with Monster GreenPower feature colour coded outlets often with matching labels; really useful for knowing what is plugged in where.

More expensive models in the Monster range also include a filter to reduce electronic noise.

Smart Strip

A great company to purchase a good quality energy saving power strip using proprietary auto switching technology that automatically shuts down devices that are not in use, without breaking the bank.

The power strips they have to offer including this one Smart Strip 4941 Energy Saving Surge Protector with Autoswitching Technology, 7-Outlet are really good value for money whilst including features such as noise reduction, surge protection and ergonomically placed and angled outlets.

Tripp Lite

The range of energy saving powers strips from Tripp Lite contain multiple outlets and have a unique Netbook Switch that allows you to choose the amount of wattage you would like.

Tripp lite offer many differing versions of smart/advanced power strips this one pictured left Tripp Lite TLP808NETG Eco Surge Protector Green 120V 8 Outlet RJ45 8ft Cord 2160 Joule is multi functional.

Tripp Lite also offer a high Joule protection.

More on Vampire Loads

Not only are the vampire loads from regular power strips using around 10% of a typical household’s electricity use but also affecting the environment.

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory this wasted energy accounts for 1% of worldwide CO2 emissions. (Source)

That is why making a small change and using the advanced smart power strip can help the environment by cutting emissions.

Although the use of smart power strips is not yet compulsory there are some incentives in certain areas encouraging people to switch.

The MassSave programs in New York and Massachusetts are working in conjunction with Belkin to make people aware of the possible savings to be made with an advanced power strip. (Source)

Some companies are also offering rebates for business customers purchasing certain environmentally friendly smart strips.

It has been proven that smart powers strips seriously reduce the amount of energy devices can waste.

Considering you could save money each year for an initial purchase price of as little as $20 it makes sense to switch.

Put an end to those energy sucking vampire loads and invest in a smart power strip.

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