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Managing Plug Loads With Advanced Power Strips

July/August 2015
A version of this article appears in the July/August 2015 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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June 18, 2015
In recent years, the number and diversity of consumer electronics used in homes has grown substantially. Look around you right now—how many devices do you see plugged in? But the convenience and entertainment these devices offer us come at a price. They all consume energy, often when they aren’t even being used. Many devices continue to draw current even when they are switched off, as long as they remain plugged into AC receptacles. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, this standby power draw, or phantom load, can account for 5–10% of a typical home’s annual electricity use. There is a solution to this problem, and it is available today. Advanced power strips (APSs) are designed to save energy in offices and home entertainment centers, where the concentration of electronics is typically high. They employ smart control strategies to shut off the supply power when electronics are not in use. Many of these devices are simple to use and can be very effective when used correctly. They come in a variety of configurations, each well suited to a particular usage pattern, so it is important to select the right one for your application. In this ...

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