BITS Ltd Smart Strip: with a Twist

Vampire power is becoming a well-known example of low-hanging fruit for energy efficiency and savings for small businesses. The name refers to power that is ‘sucked’ out of sockets despite the electronic device not even being on, but simply because it is plugged in, it can draw power from the wall for no reason. At, we have been testing the BITS, Ltd Smart Strip in our office, and love the results.

What makes the BITS Ltd Smart Strip different is that the color coded outlets on the 10-outlet strip make it foolproof. The red outlets are always active. Thus, any electronic that needs to stay on can be plugged into these outlets. For us, that means our cable box and modem. Anything that doesn’t need to be on all the time can go into one of the other outlets, and these outlets can then be grouped so that an employee leaving at night can turn off one device and the rest get turned off automatically. In the home, this can mean the TV is plugged into the blue outlet, and when the TV is turned off, everything in the green outlets are also turned off, including the VCR/DVD, the Wii, and any other items around the entertainment center that people don’t need when they’re not using the TV. In an office, you can easily plug your computer into your blue outlet, and your secondary screen, printer, external microphone, fax, etc. into the green outlets, so that when you turn your computer off, these outlets are automatically switched off, whether they were clicked on during the work day or not.

Being able to control all your electronic devices from one central device (TV, computer, etc.) is extremely smart design. It’s much easier for an employee to, for example, forget to turn the printer off than to forget to turn their computer off. Thus, you can have employees set these Smart Strips up so that one central electronic device controls all other peripherals.

Several other things we like about the Smart Strip and BITS, Ltd.:

  • The Smart Strip also is a powerful surge protector, so you can rest assured that your electronic devices are protected in the case of a surge or busted circuit.
  • The ergonomic design is terrific: the plug that goes into the wall outlet is virtually flat, allowing us to plug the Smart Strip into the wall and slide our desks right up against it.
  • The company itself also makes a “Charging Station” power strip that automatically stops charging when a rechargeable device (i.e., cell phone) has reached full charge.


Scott Cooney is the Principal of, and regularly tests and reviews green office products on his “Green products for businesses” blog.

Scott Cooney, Principal of and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.

One response

  1. Imagine how long your devices will last when charged on the “charging station’-no more damage from over-charging! Add that to what you save by reducing your power consumption-including reduction of your carbon footprint! This is a win win! Thanks!!

Leave a Reply