Time to Power Down the Death Star

One of the quickest ways to cut your energy usage is to find all of the power vampires in your house and shove a stake through their greedy, lifeless hearts. Cell phone chargers, entertainment centers, computers – many of these draw significant power even when turned off. As a starting point, I’ve decided to tackle my entertainment center.

Belkin Conserve Insight

The Belkin Conserve Insight

The first step in reducing your energy usage is actually figuring out just how much you’re using. Yeah, you can look at your monthly electric bill, but that just doesn’t give a granular enough view of what’s sucking power like a drunk at an open-bar wedding. I just ordered a Conserve Insight from Belkin. This handy little device is a less-nerdy, better-designed version of the tried-and-true Kill-a-Watt. Basically, you plug it into your socket and then plug anything you want into it. It will then measure approximate dollars as well as CO₂ or watts used by that item. After you figure out what the major drains are, you can do one of two things – replace them with more efficient versions or find a way to turn them off. Like, really off. Not, I-still-have-a-red-LED-light-on off.

That just doesn’t give a granular enough view of what’s sucking power like a drunk at an open-bar wedding.

Our entertainment center is the Death Star of our home. An HDTV, modem/wireless router combo, DVR, Xbox, Wii, multifunction printer/scanner/fax, and network backup drives are all packed into a quite warm, but tasteful, modernist box that is powered by single power strip. To power down the shield I plan to order a power strip that will turn off some, but not all of my gadgets. (I’d like the router and DVR to remain powered while everything else goes dark.) Not sure which one I’ll order yet, but Belkin’s Conserve Switch is a leading candidate right now. It even comes with a handy remote so I don’t have to dig into the heart of the Death Star every time I want to power it down.

Never thought I’d be measuring the power usage of every item in my home. Dear lord, I’m turning into my father. (Dad, if you run across this you can tell me, “I told you so.”) It’ll be interesting to see just how much energy I’m wasting in a daily basis. Count on an updated post about this.


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