Shutting down my laptop, instead of leaving it in sleep mode, will save me $24 a year.
That's what I found when I put the Belkin Conserve Insight through its places at home. When powered up, the same laptop cost about three times that to run.
I live in the country, and am not on a town water supply, so was delighted to find that my water pump and ultraviolet sterilisation lamp cost only $22 per month to run, which means I get water for only $266 per year.
The famous adage "you can't manage what you don't measure" is certainly true when it comes to electricity.
As with most things unseen, they're often difficult to both quantify and understand in behaviour or nature.
Belkin's Conserve range, consisting of eight products, provides tools for measuring and managing your electricity consumption. The Belkin Conserve Insight is the only device in the range which is specifically designed for measuring usage.
This energy monitor enables you to discover how much energy your devices really use. This includes the cost of operation, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO 2) produced in generating the electricity consumed, and consumption in watts.
When you plug an electrical appliance into the Insight, the device measures the consumed watts and calculates how much per month or year the appliance costs to run, and the carbon emissions produced by your usage.
Initially, you need to configure the Insight with the retail price that you are billed per kilowatt-hour, which you can find on your power bill, to ensure the cost estimates it generates are accurate.
The terms power and energy are frequently confused.
Power is the rate at which energy is generated or consumed. The watt is defined as one joule per second, and measures the rate of energy conversion or transfer.
For constant power, energy in watt hours is the product of power in watts and time in hours. The kilowatt hour is most commonly known as a billing unit for energy delivered to consumers by electric retailers, such as Mercury Energy and Genesis.
For example, when a light bulb with a power rating of 100W is turned on for one hour, the energy used is 100 watt hours, or 0.1 kilowatt hours. This same amount of energy would light a 40W bulb for 2.5 hours, or a 50W bulb for two hours.
If you want to know where you're spending the most on your power, plug a major appliance like your fridge or computer into the Insight and leave it plugged in for a week or longer. Record the amount of energy used and the cost per month. Then, looking at your power bill, calculate the percentage which each device is using to ascertain where you're spending the most.
An interesting experiment is to plug your television and AV components (for example, your Sky decoder and Blu-ray player) into the Insight and watch television as you normally would for one week. At the end of the week, record your cumulative energy usage and cost. Then reset the monitor and track your usage for another week. You can then compare your usage and viewing habits from week to week.
Is your phone charger costing you money when it's plugged in, but not in use? That is, are you being charged when you're not charging?
Plug your cell phone into its charger and plug the charger into the Insight. Note how much energy it uses and how much it costs to charge your phone. Then, leaving the charger plugged in to the Insight, unplug the phone from the charger. See how much energy the charger alone still uses - and how much it costs.
- © Fairfax NZ News