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Published on February 4th, 2011 | by Gbemiga


Belkin Conserve: Saving Energy One Outlet At A Time

We’ve seen a lot of eco-friend­ly gad­gets- items to help com­post or save wa­ter or use less fu­el. Of­ten, they re­quire com­pro­mis­es, ei­ther adding ex­pense or main­te­nance. But some­times, gear can be easy-to-in­stall and in­ex­pen­sive, and en­cour­age pos­i­tive change. This is hap­pi­ly the case with the Belkin Con­serve line, which have re­cent­ly been help­ing us mon­i­tor and use less elec­tric­i­ty.

Let’s start with the Con­serve In­sight Mon­i­tor. The Mon­i­tor lets you mon­i­tor how much en­er­gy your de­vices ac­tu­al­ly use, ei­ther over a pe­ri­od of time or at a sin­gle glance. The de­vice comes with a large LCD that lets you see how much elec­tric­i­ty you are con­sum­ing, how much car­bon diox­ide (CO2) is pro­duced to gen­er­ate the elec­tric­i­ty your de­vice is con­sum­ing (your car­bon foot­print), as well as the wattage used. The com­bi­na­tion of these fea­tures means you get to see how much you’re spend­ing and your im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment via three but­tons. You can use the light­ning bolt but­ton to see how many watts you’re us­ing, the earth sym­bol but­ton to see the amount of CO2 pro­duced, and the dol­lar sign but­ton for… well, you know. You can al­so switch be­tween look­ing at dai­ly and year­ly pe­ri­ods. The Mon­i­tor comes with preload­ed av­er­age US elec­tric­i­ty costs but you can in­put your own rates.

You can find how much en­er­gy your de­vice is us­ing over a pe­ri­od of time by plug­ging it in­to the Mon­i­tor and then use the de­vice for a some time e.g. a week. At the end of the week you can see your ac­tu­al us­age. If you want to you can re­set the mon­i­tor and go through the pro­cess again so that you can mea­sure your us­age rates per week and see any vari­ance or fluc­tu­a­tions. By do­ing this, you can see what per­cent­age of your elec­tric­i­ty bill any giv­en de­vice con­sumes, there­fore al­low­ing you to find out where you’re spend­ing the most. We used it to help us avoid and de­tect vam­pire de­vices, which drain en­er­gy and there­fore mon­ey even while sup­pos­ed­ly turned off. This de­vice is a good first step on the en­er­gy con­ser­va­tion road but it doesn’t pro­vide you with an overview of what your en­tire house con­sumes.

The Mon­i­tor comes in a has­sle free, green pack­age and can be found in white, gray and lemon grass col­ors. It can be found on Ama­zon for $23.

An­oth­er de­vice in the Con­serve line of prod­ucts from Belkin is the Smart AV Surge Pro­tec­tor. This surge pro­tec­tor al­lows you to tru­ly turn off up to 6 de­vices con­nect­ed us­ing a sim­ple but­ton, help­ing to avoid los­ing mon­ey and pow­er to vam­pire de­vices. The AV in the name clues you to the in­tend­ed use of the surge pro­tec­tor, main­ly for TV and home the­ater sys­tems.

The surge pro­tec­tor comes with eight dif­fer­ent sock­ets. One is the Mas­ter Out­let and five are Mas­ter Con­trolled. If you con­nect­ed a TV to the Mas­ter sock­et and oth­er de­vices in your home the­ater sys­tem in­to the Mas­ter Con­trolled. When you turn off your TV, the surge pro­tec­tor de­tects this and au­to­mat­i­cal­ly shuts down all the de­vices in the Con­trolled sock­ets. There are al­so two sock­ets on the surge pro­tec­tor that are not Mas­ter or Con­trolled and are for de­vices that need con­stant pow­er e.g. DVR’s, clocks, routers, etc. There is al­so a switch on the surge pro­tec­tor that al­lows you to turn off the surge pro­tec­tor. The Surge Pro­tec­tor can be found on Ama­zon for $24.99.

To­geth­er, both de­vices we tried make a great com­bi­na­tion. They’d make a great gift for any en­er­gy con­ser­va­tion­ist but would al­so be good tools for any­one look­ing to save some mon­ey.

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About the Author

In Gbemiga Sodipe's 28 years on this planet, he has lived on every continent but South America and has had a wide variety of jobs and experiences. He has worked as a Technical Writer for Microsoft in Beijing and as a coupon delivery guy in Springfield, Missouri. He loves books and is partial to Sci-Fi and Nonfiction but if you put any book in front of him his mind will be gone from this world and into the world of the book. Unless of course you put Uncle Toms Cabin or any book by L. Ron Hubbard in front of him, then he will first beat you to a bloody pulp with the book then commit what he considers to be one of his Seven Deadly Sins i.e. burn the book. In fact he for a time considered books much more interesting and less problematic than girls but that was during his early teenage years (ok maybe also every now and then but don’t tell his girlfriend that). Gbemiga speaks English and Mandarin Chinese fluently, understands but can’t speak Yoruba (to his mother’s eternal chagrin, even though it’s her fault) and knows the insults and swear words of 5 other languages (thank you International upbringing).

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