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Green gadget promises savings for the power hungry

Special to Globetechnology.com

Spanish invention offers relief for the environment and the wallet by cutting down on standby power use ...Read the full article

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  1. Dwille Pruximus from Canada writes: "The gadget, called 100%Off, measures the current being used by an appliance during normal operations and during standby, and cuts the power supply to those detected to be in standby mode."

    Yeah, that's what I really want: reprogram my alarm and other devices when this gadget cuts the power in standby mode.
  2. The Dude from Canada writes: That's why you get to select which devices you plug into it. Also, there is a switch on the power bar to override the feature for specific sockets.

    So, yes you have the ability to keep things like PVRs plugged in and at full standby power. Also, there are many devices that retain their settings even without standby power. Those would be good ones to fully power off.

    Did you read the whole article or did you just get too eager to write something negative?
  3. Dwille Pruximus from Canada writes: Yes and yes. This idea has long been overdue and as it is with any other power generation or conservation it is much easier to do it at the source (e.g. increas efficiency at generation) than do it at each outlet.

    Just a quick math: if this device gets commercialized for let's say $10 bucks a piece and an average owner has 10 outlets that this device would be useful at, that's $100. Factor in the CO2 emissions that trucking millions and millions of unnecessary hardware to housholds would cause.

    Is it worth it? Is it not marginal savings only? Shouldn't we concentrate on making bigger drain items like appliances more efficient? E.g. a 10% efficiency improvement of a fridge much outweigh this gadget's benefits. My 2 cents.
  4. P Martin from St. John's, Canada writes: I would be using it.
  5. mike hunt from Canada writes: again over regulation limitting the choice of individual canadians in the name of 'safety' or some other rediculously politically correct reason, holds us back. perhaps its time we ditch some of our 'labelling' regulations and let individual canadians take individual risks.
  6. Commander Groovechild from Canada writes: I'm guilty of this habit. I have things plugged in all the time although not in use - especially appliances with transformers like my notebook computers and rechargers. Recently I have been moving towards solar recharging, which works surprisingly well in most cases. So I'm going to expand that system despite how I have to build some stuff myself. Actually the 8 Watt light in this room is battery powered. Personally I would like to see houses with Variable Power / Low Power DC systems. We keep complaining about the auto industry going in the gutter. But a lot of appliances designed for cars are fine in a residential setting. I have a small TV that works off 12 DC.
  7. Sask Resident from Regina, Canada writes: Buy a bunch (5 or 6) of $40 power bars to save an estimated maximum of $40 per year, makes economic sense to me. If I save $20 per year, it will take me 20 years to pay them off.

    Why not just shut off one light instead?
  8. g b from the hammer, Canada writes: i recently rewired an apartment and included a feature to tackle this very problem. i ran 3 wire to all the outlets in the living room, dining room and bedroom and broke off all the tabs on the receptacles and wired in a switch, making the top of each receptacle switchable and the bottom socket always 'hot' or on. this way one can choose to be able to turn any device plugged in conveniently from a switch near the light switch while devices that should remain powered do so. very easy to remember to turn the toys off when turning the lights off when leaving a room.

    this type of solution could be easily incorporated into the electrical code and would only add about $100 to the cost of a new or renovated house or apartment. lobbying for changes the building codes and electrical codes is an incredibly powerful and efficient way to make all dwellings on a go forward basis much more energy efficient. it is always easier to design and build something to be efficient and user friendly than it is to retrofit it after the fact.

    if you are having extensive electrical rewiring done have your electrician install this type of wiring. if they don't know how, or say it can't be done, get a new electrician, this is very basic stuff.
  9. Bob Loblaw from Canada writes: .
    from article-
    The device could cut 10 per cent from electricity bills and 1 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, based on the International Energy Agency's figures on standby power use.
    ..........................................................
    How can you report obviously wrong information like this?
    Just typing in a press release from the company????

    .
  10. Randal Oulton from Canada writes: >> The device could cut 10 per cent from electricity bills

    Yes. And the result would be Toronto Hydro having to raise all our bills by 10% to make up for the shortfall, haha!
  11. Remy Petreli from Vancouver, Canada writes: This is the dumbest idea ever. For a start, the math of the quoted studies is completely wrong. In my typical household I estimate that devices on standby use about $12 worth of electricity per year (most of them are already Energy-Star rated to use low power on standby). But for the 2/3 of the year that I heat my house with natural gas, this "waste" electrical heat is free, so the actual cost to me is $4 per year. If I was at all concerned about the power consumption on standby, I would just unplug the device or use a $5 power bar that could turn off several at once with a switch.
  12. Blade Runner from Canada writes: There is a reason why the device was made not to be 100% off or it would be 100% off!!

    Why save energy when you know the hydro company will jack up the bill if they see they are losing money if people made an effort to save energy.
  13. Nathan Weatherdon from Canada writes: I'm sure they could put it to the front of the approval process. Why not? Shouldn't goods that carry wider social benefits have faster access to regulatory approval?

    In the meantime, it will surely be available online the day it hits the market in any country.
  14. Adrian C from Kitchener, Canada writes: I recently got a power meter, the kind that Canadian Tire sells for about CAD 25. I used it to monitor the stand-by power consumption on all the devices in the computer room (PC, printer, phone, monitor, subwoofer, etc.
    I am surprised (in a good way) to see that I have a 26 kWh consumption with the PC in sleep mode, I consider that not bad.
    I cannot turn off these devices for obvious reasons so I make sure I turn off the subwoofer and put the PC to sleep every time I am done working on it. The printer is mostly turned off.

    Next in line is the group of devices in the living (stereo, DVD player, TV, satellite box) where I suspect I can save significantly. For now I push the switch on the power bar when not using them but I intend to put a timer (one of those used for outdoor Christmas lights) on them so that I don't have to remember that, I only need them on power for the 3-4 hours in the evening anyhow, this solution works well for me and I recommend it.
  15. Adrian C from Kitchener, Canada writes: I recently got a power meter, the kind that Canadian Tire sells for about CAD 25. I used it to monitor the stand-by power consumption on all the devices in the computer room (PC, printer, phone, monitor, subwoofer, etc.
    I am surprised (in a good way) to see that I have a 26 kWh consumption with the PC in sleep mode, I consider that not bad.
    I cannot turn off these devices for obvious reasons so I make sure I turn off the subwoofer and put the PC to sleep every time I am done working on it. The printer is mostly turned off.

    Next in line is the group of devices in the living (stereo, DVD player, TV, satellite box) where I suspect I can save significantly. For now I push the switch on the power bar when not using them but I intend to put a timer (one of those used for outdoor Christmas lights) on them so that I don't have to remember that, I only need them on power for the 3-4 hours in the evening anyhow, this solution works well for me and I recommend it.
  16. Roger Gagne from Calgary, Canada writes: Blade Runner from Canada writes: "There is a reason why the device was made not to be 100% off or it would be 100% off!! Why save energy when you know the hydro company will jack up the bill if they see they are losing money if people made an effort to save energy."

    Hi Blade Runner,

    Several U.S. States including California, and Texas if I'm not mistaken, have decoupled utility revenues from sales volume, removing the perverse incentive to further harm the planet by selling more and more energy, and the resources needed to produce the energy. Since 1999, any utility in Texas has been required by law to meet at least 10% of the electricity of any proposed new power plant by harvesting their customers' wasted energy.

    Fred Yebra, Manager of Demand Side Management Programs at Austin Energy, said "Before considering building another new power plant, a community should look at what is the potential for energy efficiency in the community." Yeah, no kidding.
  17. Roger Gagne from Calgary, Canada writes: Adrian C from Kitchener, Canada writes: "I am surprised (in a good way) to see that I have a 26 kWh consumption with the PC in sleep mode, I consider that not bad."

    Hi Adrian,

    My former PC tower and monitor used about 150 W each and, though I never tested the tower in sleep mode, I suspect it used high wattage, not to mention the fact that it took about 90 - 120 seconds to power down or up again. When it was frequently freezing up near the end of our time together, powering down and up was a process I waited through multiple times each day. I was delighted to find that my new system I bought a year ago, an iMac, uses about 1/4 as much electricity; even with several programs running, I couldn't get it to use more than 75 W; mind you, that was before I installed iTunes and started playing music.

    As for sleep... going in or out of sleep mode requires the touch of a button and takes about 2 seconds. Sleep mode eats up 1 W of power. My pleasure over the efficiency of my new system gave me some juice to help me get through the learning curve as I moved from a PC to a Mac.
  18. this is just my opinion from Toronto, Canada writes: Remy, I'm really curious how you arrive at the conclusion that "...for the 2/3 of the year that I heat my house with natural gas, this "waste" electrical heat is free, so the actual cost to me is $4 per year." Are you claiming that the heat generated from the standby consumption of your electronics is worth $8/year of gas? Is that a guess, or have you measured the caloric output of your electronics on standby? And BTW you still paid that $8 to the electric company, so I don't know if you could say it's 'free.'
  19. Rusty Brown from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada writes: Remy Petreli from Vancouver, Canada makes a valid point that is almost always overlooked by the greenies: "... for the 2/3 of the year that I heat my house with natural gas, this "waste" electrical heat is free..." meaning that the electricity becomes heat, which offsets your heating bills by the same amount.

    This applies even more to incandescent light bulbs. Changing to flourescents will reduce the cost of lighting, but your heating system will have to work harder to keep your house as warm as before -- thus negating the supposed energy savings.

    RB
  20. Rusty Brown from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada writes:
    Here in Ontario, so much of your electricity bill is fixed charges, and the actual charge for electricity consumption such a small portion of the bill, that there is very little incentive to reduce consumption.

    Not only that, but the fixed charges are the same for everyone, so that a person in a bachelor apartment pays the same for that part of the bill (and it is a large part!) as someone living in a mansion.

    This arrangement was made, of course, by bureaucrats living in mansions.

    RB
  21. B Lam from Canada writes: When we talk about standby power, quantity counts. There are about 7 billion people on earth. If each and everyone one of us unplugs just one idled battery charger, printer etc from the wall outlet, we would effortlessly save 61 billion kwh of energy per year, enough for more than 6 million homes.

    Individually, the monetary saving may be minimal. When put together, we should realize how much green house gases could be reduced.
  22. marc *.* from Canada writes: I've just looked around and in my place i don't really have that much that is on standby AND that does not require power to keep the memory alive. I suppose the TV is one exception, seeing that it is hooked up to another tuner box. But the real savings would seem to be rather meager.

    I like "gb from hammer's" approach to devising switched and unswitched outlets. Seems very simple, cost effective and reliable.
  23. Sebastian Cobe from Calgary, Canada writes: This doesn't seem like a usefull product at all. I like being able to see my clocks in my house and turn on my stereo and TV with the remote. Easily worth 40 dollars a year.

    Also, how could are these units at preventing dirty electricity lowering my audio and video quality like my current power bars do.

    There are way better things to improve energy efficiency of your home.
  24. Hee Hoo Sai from Canada writes: Instead of wasteing money on warm wet feelings that do absolutly nothing other than validate the idiotic, try optomizing use of high power users, electric stoves, washers, dryers, automotive block heaters, etc. It will be necessary to save large amounts of power to facilitate the wonderoerus electric cars that will require megawatts to charge their enviornmentaly friendly batteries. There is one born every minute.
  25. ALASTAIR JAMES BERRY from NANAIMO, Canada writes: I seem to have heard a similar story about 20-30 years ago.............A company with a name like Reliant Energy Co.....in the states........ claimed it had developed a black box for use on escalators that would adjust power supply to the electric motors powering since more power was needed if more people were 'on board'.

    As I remember it the board of EXXON(?), who were naturally interested in energy, heard the sales pitch and fell for it, hook, line and sinker and visualizing a bonanza, considering how many escalators there are in the states, bought up the company to get it, it's patents and the BLACK BOX MANUFACTURING FACILITIES.........................................................................................

    ONLY TO FIND TO IT'S DISMAY , THAT IT HAD BEEN 'TAKEN' , as the BLACK BOX DID NOT WORK AS PROMISED.............and they had to write off an investment in the $100 million range.
  26. Lisa Wellbelove from Barrie, Canada writes: Where ever possible, I have power bars which I switch off at night or when not in use. I hate those little red lights which haunt me at night! I feel they erode my sense of "control" in my own home. Why don't Manufacturers produce an ALTERNATE product with does NOT have 'forever on' features. Basic is good & cheaper to run. I'd like the option of buying a Plain Old Fashion Stove for example.
  27. Alban Leurk from Ottawax, Canada writes: Typical green guilt spewing BS. Save $42 and save the planet BUT buy MY stuff so I can make a living pretending we're saving the world from?
  28. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Rusty Brown... writes:"... fixed charges are the same for everyone, so that a person in a bachelor apartment pays the same for that part of the bill (and it is a large part!) as someone living in a mansion."

    Why not?

    It costs just as much to run the line to the mansion as it does to the apartment, maintain and read the meter, administer the account, and so forth.

    That's why they're called 'fixed costs', because they stay the same whether you even use the power or not.
  29. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Plus of course you can always use a regular cheap old power bar, and flick that little switch when you're done using the stuff that's plugged into it.
  30. Bob Loblaw from Canada writes: .

    Single handle water faucets are the biggest energy wasters on the planet. Now , almost everyone inadvertently uses warm water to brush teeth or rinse the kitchen sink. The amount of energy used to heat all of this water would be staggering. Building codes should mandate a seperate hot and cold tap.

    .

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