The fear of summer electric bills is upon me and I am dead set to do anything I can to minimize them. In my quest for lower utility bills I found the easiest and cheapest green home upgrade....in a power strip? Yep.
TrickleStar, admittedly a company I had personally never heard of before, apparently sells nothing more than several variations of energy-saving power strips. I guess they took the line "do one thing and do it well" very much to heart. TrickleStar has several higher end models with different options for remote switches, motion detectors and surge suppression but for my use here all I needed was their most basic power-strip.
At first glance the TrickleStar is nothing more than a nice-looking surge-protected power strip and really doesn't cost all that much more than one. Your second glance might have you asking a few questions; where is the power switch? What is the little switch on the side for? Why are there two colors of outlets? The questions become easier to answer knowing the functionality of the device. The TrickleStar's super power is the ability to detect the power use of the ~main~ device plugged into it and turn on and off the other devices plugged into it based on the status of that main device.
As the picture shows, the green outlets are for items that need to be controlled by the switch, black outlets are always on for things that need never be turned off like your DVR (I would hate to miss an episode of Thrones). You will notice the far right outlet is called the "control outlet". This outlet is what the ~main~ device is plugged into, in my case the TV. When the TV is turned on, everything else is turned on....TV goes off, everything else goes off too! Not enough switched ports for you? Me either, just plug a cheapo no-frills plug strip into a green outlet and the whole thing is switched. The little switch on the side is simply to set the sensitivity of the control outlet.
I don't think my needs are much different than the average home. I have a living room TV with several peripheral devices like a Blu-Ray player, a Roku and a sound bar along with a couple of video game systems and a network switch (to branch the network connection for all the above devices). With so many techno do-dads hanging off my TV it is a pain to turn everything off and when you forget, it uses unnecessary electricity and costs money. Even if you do remember to turn things off, there are still vampire loads on most devices.
Installation is simple, plug everything you want to turn on and off automatically in the green outlets, plug your main controlling device (the TV) into the control outlet, plug the things that need to be on all the time in the black outlets. Turn your TV on and off, if everything turns on and off with it you're done, if not adjust the little threshold switch on the side and try again.
With my entire console 100% off (except for the TV's sleep mode), the electricity used in a 24 hour period will be drastically reduced and this simple upgrade pays for itself. If I still had kids in the house I'm sure it would pay for itself that much quicker. ;)