Modern homes have almost two dozen devices sucking up phantom energy, from televisions to coffee makers. The average home in the United States leaks 450 kilowatt hours per year, about 5 percent of total electricity use, but you could be using a lot more. Regular power strips don’t always help the problem much, because one can easily forget to switch off an out-of-sight strip. The SUG7 Smart Strip from Bits Limited makes it easier to decrease use of phantom energy.

The device has two always on outlets, four energy saver outlets and two USB ports for charging mp3 players and mobile devices. The always on outlets would best be used for household telephones, modems and routers, while the energy saver outlets should be used for devices that use the most phantom energy. For me, that’s a computer, television and game console.

I used the Smart Strip with my modem and router hooked up to the always on outlets, and my computer charge cord in an energy saver outlet. The location in the house — a work and study hub — is also ideal for charging mp3 players and cellphones through the USB ports. Also, the black design draws less attention to the cords, which, let’s face it, can be a real eyesore.

One other feature of the Smart Strip is a remote that controls the energy saver outlets. The remote can stand on its own, or be inserted into a USB port to control power to a computer.

We all have our limits to how much effort we put toward being green. My partner and I differ greatly in our habits, and the SUG7 worked with both our lifestyles. The remote feature is ideal with the Smart Strip hooked up to our television and game console, as we use remotes for those devices anyway. Even though my partner rarely switches off our other power strips, the convenience of the remote made it easy to change that habit.

Curious to see how much phantom energy your household offenders use? Check out this table from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Want to try it out?
We’re giving away one SUG7 Smart Strip. Because phantom energy can also be called vampire energy, we want to know what supernatural being reminds you most of a particular electronic device. (Vampires remind me of a coffee maker, because they are as scared of the sun as I am in the morning.) Please email your response to [email protected] by midnight EST on Thursday, Aug. 16.

Disclaimer: We received complimentary Smart Strips from Bits Limited for review and giveaway.