Remembering all the energy conservation tips we learn is hard. Why not let these gadgets do the heavy lifting for you?
Turn off lights when you’re not in the room. Reduce the setting of the thermostat by 4 degrees when you leave the house or go to sleep. Unplug unnecessary devices when they’re not in use. The list of “easy” ways to save energy grows longer by the day, and some of us are better at executing them than others.
And just to make things more complicated, we’ve recently discovered phantom energy leaks–energy that’s wasted when devices are plugged in, but not in use.
Thankfully, energy conservation gadgets are emerging every day. Leveraging the power of smart and mobile technologies, these devices bring the “set it and forget it” mantra into the realm of energy conservation. These gadgets will remember to save energy even when you forget while also making it possible to monitor your energy usage from afar, and over time! (And they also make great holiday presents for the green geeks on your list.)
5 Energy Conservation Gadgets That Work (Even When You’re Not Home!)
1. EcoGuard Smart Outlet & Meter
Developed by Telkonet, this gadget has the ability to monitor and stop the flow of power to one or both outlets, turning off lamps, televisions, appliances, and any other energy-consuming appliances when the room is unoccupied. The EcoGuard [PDF] also monitors cost, voltage, amperage, kWh, and other metrics in 15-minute increments. The only drawback is that it’s only designed to work with Telkonet’s EcoSmart energy management system. If you’re not ready for that type of investment, check out the Belkin Conserve Socket ($9.99) that can be programmed to turn off during certain periods of the day.
2. Nest Thermostat
These days, it’s hard to read anything about home energy conservation without a mention of the super-sexy Nest Thermostat. Like many gadgets these days, the Nest is intelligent, which means it can learn from your habits to optimize its own performance. Instead of complicated programming, you just turn the Nest thermostat up and down to suit your needs. After about two weeks, it will learn your habits, and begin to adjust itself based on the time of day. When you’re not around, it can be controlled from your phone.
3. Conserve Valet Smart USB Charging Station
I’m pretty good about turning off lights and managing the thermostat, but one thing that often makes me wince is plugging my phone in to charge, and then totally forgetting about it. Not only is this bad for my smartphone battery, it’s also a big waste of energy. The Conserve Valet Smart USB Charging Station from Belkin solves this problem beautifully. The table top gadget lets you charge all of your mobile devices in one convenient place, and automatically shuts off power—including standby power—after devices are fully charged. It even senses when new devices are added so you always get a full charge, and has an innovative cord management system to keep things neat.
4. Ecobutton Halo
Did you know your laptop or tablet has a plethora of settings to help conserve energy? Even more important, do you know where they are and how to manage them? Yeah. Ecobutton Halo is an affordable, plug-and-play device that’s meant to make energy conservation easier when it comes to computers. This simple USB plug-in instantly puts your computer into the most efficient sleep mode possible. “If you get up to get a cup of coffee, just tap the Eco Button and you’ll save energy while you’re away. When you return, tap the button again and your computer will instantly wake up, showing how much energy you saved and returning to your previous screen,” explains the Alliance to Save Energy. And it’s only $9.99!
5. Lutron Maestro Dimmer Switch with Occupancy Sensor
OK, this is for all of you with forgetful kids and spouses that are always leaving every light in the house burning bright. The Lutron Maestro Dimmer with Occupancy Sensor has a 150 degree motion detector with an angle up to 30 feet, so when the room is empty, the lights automatically turn themselves off. You can also pre-program the sensitivity and the time or operate it manually.
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Top image: nilsvik