Green Switch for Green Savings

by Nora Dunn on 10 March 2008 32 comments
Photo: HGTV

Did you know that even after turning everything off in your home, you are still paying for electricity consumption you may be unaware of? If you’re like me, that should get both the frugal and green-friendly aspects of your personality all riled up.

 

Some scary facts for you:

  • 8-10% of your home’s electricity consumption is due to appliances left in standby mode.
  • A mobile phone charger uses 2 watts while charging a phone, 2 watts even when the phone is fully charged, and STILL 1.5 watts when the charger is plugged in without the phone.
  • Home entertainment systems (TV, DVD, audio systems) are the worst culprits, sucking over 28 watts even when all the components are turned off or are in standby mode.
  • Your stereo will use 23 watts while playing music, and 20 watts while left on but not playing music.
  • On a grander scale, the Energy Saving Trust claims that appliances on standby produce 50 million tones of CO2 annually.
  • Energy Saving Trust (a UK based organization) also claims that if one mobile charger per household is left plugged in, enough energy is generated (wasted, really) to provide power to 66,000 households for one year. Yikes.

 

When you plug in your phone or camera to charge overnight, it usually finishes charging after about an hour. What about the other seven or eight hours you are sleeping?

 

Not to mention that as long as all these appliances are burning up power, they’re also slowly but surely wearing and tearing. Turning them off – really off – when you aren’t using them is the best way to get more miles out of your purchases.

 

Go around your home and look for lights. You know – the little LED lights that indicate something somewhere is plugged in. They’re on chargers, power bars, DVD players, stereos, coffee makers, and various clocks around the house. All those little lights indicate that power is being used up, and most of the time unnecessarily.

 

But let’s think practically here. Going around the house at night or whenever you leave and unplugging everything isn’t going to happen. Heck – the backaches alone from reaching and craning around furniture to access well-hidden outlets will cost you more in medical bills in the end!

Seriously though, there are now products on the market to help reduce excessive power consumption. One of them is called the Green Switch. Their product was originally designed for the hotel/hospitality industry, which saw an energy cost savings of 25-45% as a result. So the next logical market became the consumer one.

 

How it Works

From what I can tell, it involves a relatively simple installation of the green switch in place of one of your outlets. It then sends a wireless signal to other outlets, light switches, and thermostats in your home to turn the power off at the source when the green switch is activated.

Installation takes under an hour and if you are comfortable with changing an outlet or light switch, this would be a piece of cake.

 

How Much?

Every home is different, so there is no standard cost across the board for this product. If you are interested in knowing how much it would cost you specifically, they will email you a quote based on information you provide about how large your home is and what sorts of appliances you have.

 

The only indication of cost is a mention of “payback in about 1-2 years” on their website. The payback comes in the form of energy bill savings. It seems like a long break-even period to me, but then again if you are installing a system like this it is for more than just frugal reasons; there is an environmentally-friendly component to this that holds weight too. And once you’ve broken even, it’s all gravy from there.

 

 

Enviroplug is a UK-based company that also has a line of products similar to the Green Switch, which help eliminate phantom power drains to help you save money and reduce your negative impact on the environment.

 

I have not personally tried either product (it’s a long story!), so I cannot personally endorse them any more than to say I have researched them and am impressed with the product offering.

If you want to go green and reduce your expenses in the meantime, now you have yet another solution at your fingertips. All you have to do is take the first step.

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Guest's picture
G

another alternative - if the circuit breakers are easily accessible (ie. in your apt or condo), clearly label them and turn them on/off as your using whatever you're using (or not using)

Guest's picture
Guest

Turning off breakers is not an option. As an electrical Contractor i can tell you that excessive use of circuit breakers will render them useless. Breakers are not designed to be an on/off switch.

Guest's picture
Guest

YES YOU CAN USE BREAKERS AS SWITCHES THEY ARE RATED TO DO SO...HE'S A CONTRATOR NOT A REAL ELECTRICAN.... READ THE THE BREAKER IT SAY SWITCH RATED DUMB ASS..

Guest's picture
Guest

dumb.

Guest's picture
Ken

I wish clocks had built in batteries. This would be great.

Guest's picture
Sean

FYI- you can split the switch so the the plug for the clock does not get shut off when the green switch is enabled.

Guest's picture
Mark Cussen

Another good article, Nora. It's depressing to know how much energy we waste. Your stuff is always relevant and I enjoy reading it. Keep up the good work!

Guest's picture
Guest

I put things that can be turned off (ie not the fridge) on power strips so that when they are not in use, i can turn off the power strip. it's much easier to just turn off a few power strips around the house than all the things that need to be plugged in but i still feel like i'm making a difference.

Guest's picture

At the desk where all my computer equipment is, I shut down all my peripherals (2 disk drives, a DVD burner, printer, monitor, powered USB Hub) All through the common off switch of the power strips.

Warning: You must still shut down (or put to sleep) your computer in a normal fashion, and only then shut down everything else. You risk damaging your equipment (especially disk drives) otherwise.

I do the same thing for where I charge all my gadgets and batteries.

Making it easy to shut numerous items of makes it more likely that you actually will do it.

Guest's picture
Guest

by shutting off the power strip it will not reduce phantom power. The power strip will still be drawing power and wasting it. use a meter and check it out

Guest's picture
Ian

As an electrical engineer I have to point out that every power strip I have ever seen has a fully mechanical switch that physically disconnects the outlets in the strip from the AC power in the cable. Once this circuit is broken, there is absolutely no power been consumed by the strip or anything plugged into it. I think using power strips to make it more convenient to turn off unnecessary gadgets is a good idea. If you don't believe me, go ahead and test this with a meter. Note that most multi-meters will show some apparently "phantom" current (thousandths or millionths of an amp), this is most likely electrical hum being induced on the meter leads due to proximity to other wires carrying current and DOES NOT represent "phantom" power being consumed.

Guest's picture
Guest

I found this article very infomative, however I am running into a stone wall trying to find on line sources for these products. Do you have any suggestions? I am in the process of remodeling a very old, historic register house and now is the opportunity to incorporate these switches.

Guest's picture
Doug

Greenswitch doesn't allow posting of pricing online, but if you would like to purchase Greenswitch products we are an authorized distributor for Greenswitch and can sell/ship products to you. For a price quote please email doug@eaglerockenergyproducts.com

Nora Dunn's picture
Nora Dunn

@Guest: I too had trouble locating vendors of the product; I believe they are exclusively sold by Green Switch themselves. Visit their site (www.greenswitch.tv), and there is a spot to submit for a quote based on your home and needs.

You can also try the UK alternative Enviroplug (www.enviroplug.com), or even try a search for similar devices. 

I too, wish these were easier to get our hands on! Good luck in your quest...

Guest's picture
Guest

hello

Guest's picture
Guest

Try this location for Green Switch products as well. It looks like they will be adding an option to buy products right online in the near future.

www.greenswitchnow.com

Guest's picture
Sean

Hi there, if you want to get Green Switch for you home, office, or Hotel, go to
www.greenswitchteam.com

or email sean.ronan@greenswitchteam.com

Have a great day.

Sean

Guest's picture
Guest

Any product that is afraid to advertise there price is overpriced.

This product is no different.

The idea is great, however the company uses high pressure sales.

Our only hope is that a real company make a similar product at a resonable price and sell it at major home stores.

As with most items that push GREEN, its a ripoff

Guest's picture
Stephanie

I sure would like to DIY. Hubby is handy and familiar with electrical, so it would be no big deal. Green Switch can't be the only company doing this, can they?

Guest's picture
Guest

My question is how much energy total does the green switch use itself? As it is a vampire device too. That includes the switch and each outlet.

Remember to use this switch if you decide to get it. Otherwise if you forget and just leave every thing on still then you've just increased the vampire devices not decreased them.

Guest's picture
Thierry

I saw the GreenSwitch on Modern Marvel. Great idea. I searched for it on the Net to find out the cost. Very hard to find. Finally found some information about it. It seems the "Starter Kit" runs for about $1,100. That's ridiculous!!! All of my major electronic components (TV, stereo, computer, printer, etc.) are on surge protectors ($10) to prevent power surges and blowing things up. So, by simply turning off the surge protectors every night before going to bed, I am able to do the same thing as this GreenSwitch does.
Remember, you must use it to save it. So, just use the surge propector.

Guest's picture
Joshua Marsh

Would a timer switch offer the same power savings as a "green Switch"?

Guest's picture
Guest

This will do the same thing.
http://cleantechnica.com/2008/11/06/outlet-switch-fights-vampire-energy-...

Requires a little more work but is very cheap comparatively.

Guest's picture

Getting a green switch will help in reducing your carbon footprint and lowering your energy bills.

Guest's picture
Luis

Hey somebody is the greenswitch is for sale i want buy one but i don't know how to buy a greenswitch

Guest's picture
Luis

Hello somebody know is the greenswitch is for sale i want buy one but i don't know how to buy a greenswitch

Nora Dunn's picture
Nora Dunn

@Luis - If you visit the Greenswitch website (www.greenswitch.tv), you can select your country and find a way to get a quotation from there. If all else fails, use the "contact us" button and you will get some help!

Guest's picture
chris

I just went to home show in New Jersey, the product does exist. I talked with the seller. Jeff Schuld. He informed me that each state is an individual company,thats why you cant buy the products in PA from an online company and live in NY orNJ. Yes, its expensive 4 receptacles $70 each,4 switches$70 each, Master switch $250 and tstat $200.. Thats $1050 for parts and and $250 for installation. $1300 for both. If monthly bill is $250 per month and you shave off 20% thats $50 per month. $50 x 12 months is $600 . Thats 24 month payback. Thats pretty good and was worth it. No one is forcing anyone to buy it, but its a great investment...INVESTMENT . thats the part people never remember. Keep using the clip strips,or running around pulling stuff out. Hit the circuit breakers (if they are SWD rated ) but its easier to do it with one switch than any other method you can come up with. I bought mine through Gone green technologies in NJ. Thanks for your articles. Keep up the good work.

Guest's picture
Guest

GreenSwitch has lowered their prices! Now master switches are only $100.00, thermostats are $95.00, outlets and switches are just $60.00. Instead of paying thousands of dollars and waiting 24 months for a payback, you can now save over 40% off our original prices thanks to a new manufacturer. Check out GreenSwitch at www.greenswitch.tv/ and see how you can start saving on your monthly electric bill.

Nora Dunn's picture
Nora Dunn

@Chris - Thanks for your testimony! Cheers.

Guest's picture
Guest

Green switch is a great idea; unfortunately the devices are too over-priced for what they do ... which is simply turning-off outlets in your home.

So, forget the green switch completely, unless you want to be super lazy, because green switch has a computer built-in so you can program the unique time you want different systems in your home to come out of hibernation.

If you are like me and simply want to save money by turning AC outlets off at night, simply get a Wireless Remote Control Outlet Switch http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Appliances-Conditioners-Electrical-Equipm...). These AC remote switching kits are under $50 and simple to use. Simply turn-off the remotely controlled outlets when you lockup your house to go to bed.

For under $50 this simple device will pay for it's self in no time; as opposed to the green switch which does essentially the same thing but is 10x the cost...

So, with this said, just think how long it will take the green switch to pay for it's self? A long, long time.

Guest's picture
Gerald

I am trying to get info on Greenswitch. Can anyone help? Phone number, email, website???? Anyone?