I wonder if anyone made “green” resolutions for 2012. Generally resolutions are all about “bettering ourselves”, but how about helping the planet (and your electricity bill) in the process?
Until we moved house we were one of those couples who switched our TV and surround sound system etc off at the wall each night before we went to bed, in an attempt to save electricity. There is a big pile of tech sat in the corner of the lounge and apart from reducing the life of our beloved entertainment system and being a potential fire risk, it costs us money to keep all those little red lights on when we’re not using any of it. We had everything except the Sky+ box plugged into an extension panel that we could reach to switch off. The Sky+ box has to be powered all the time or it wouldn’t record anything. I say “before we moved” because now our plug sockets are well hidden behind the big pile of tech, and so we have had to break the habit of turning stuff off at the plug simply because we can’t reach. So we’re back to paying for those little red lights
But now we have one of these “PowerDown” sockets or “intelliplugs”. This device goes in the wall socket and has a switch meaning we can turn everything off completely by using the power button on the television remote control (or the Sky remote in TV mode).
The receiver on the plug learns the signal from your television remote control and automatically switches off all the home entertainment equipment connected to your TV when you press the standby button on your remote control, and then switches it all back on again when you turn your TV back on using the remote.
The intelliplug has three sockets. The one on the top is for your television – the device that is the master switch for all your tech. One of the two sides is for your other entertainment equipment (via a multi-gang socket).
Once you’ve plugged these in, whenever you hit standby on your remote it will switch it (and everything else connected to it) off properly. It will wait until the television has powered down properly; it doesn’t just cause an immediate loss of power – it works out when the television and peripherals is at the right power level to cause the least stress to components possible, and then all your little red lights will go off. We have found depending on what we’ve been using this can take anywhere from a 20 seconds to a couple of minutes.
The other side of the socket is permanently on – so perfect for your Sky+ or other digital recorder that needs to be kept on so you don’t miss anything.
So no more standby in our house again – and with such a simple solution. Eon, who made the version we have, say by using this you save around 11 watts of energy an hour – which soon adds up. There are also versions for computers which is another thing that eats power when it’s just sat there.
One small niggle from this music lover… I now have to have my television on to use my sound system on its own (our surround sound system is connected to our television, obviously, but we also use it with our Airport Express to stream our music into our lounge). But it’s not as bad as leaving everything on overnight or when we’re out.
Edited to Add:
Leaving our everyday appliances on “standby” costs UK households between £50 and £86 a year on average according to a study. See the report in The Guardian for more information.