The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) recently awarded their 2010 product awards. The platinum award for Green Product of the Year was given to Schneider Electric’s APC Power-Saving Surge Protector with LCD Timer.
You might ask, “how can a surge protector save power?” Well the secret is actually in the timer and the way it lets you deal very effectively with vampire electronics, which are devices the continue to draw power when you are not using them, like VCRs or cell phone chargers.
APC’s Power-Saving Surge Protector with LCD Timer, allows you to program the plug strip the cut these devices completely off when know you will not be needing them, thus saving energy. There are actually two models available, the P4GC and the P6GC, which, as you might have guessed, have four and six outlets respectively. According to Patrick Donovan, senior product manager, “The new Surge Protectors not only save your electronics from damage, but they help you save money too.” Company calculations show that these two devices, which retail for less than $20 will pay for themselves in as little as four months. The timers allow up to six program settings per day.
This is obviously good news for the environment as well. Even though these vampire loads tend to be small, there are lots of them and they are generally sipping juice twenty-four seven, like little electronic leeches that are permanently attached to your house. According to David Gershon’s Low Carbon Diet, cutting out vampire electronics, can easily save as much as 600 pounds of carbon per year at home.
It’s a clever idea, though not actually the first to address this issue. Smart Power strips allow you to designate a control outlet to which you plug in an appliance that you want you other appliances to follow. For example, if you plug in you TV to that outlet; your VCR, DVD, cable box, etc. which are then all plugged into “switched outlets,” will all shut off automatically when the TV shuts off. Other earlier approaches were featured in this TreeHugger article.
Devices like this can save even more energy and money in the office, where printers and copiers can be shut off overnight, if that isn’t already being done.
So while these little devices are not about to win a Nobel prize for innovation, they will save a lot of energy.
RP Siegel is co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails.
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