New products help consumers tackle 'vampire power'

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The trend for smarter, more energy efficient homes continues with a new line of power-saving and energy-efficient sockets from Belkin. The products are the latest in a line of devices from a number of manufacturers that help give consumers greater control over their electricity consumption.

On February 2 home electronics manufacturer Belkin announced four additions to its Conserve range of power-saving products: the Conserve Insight , Conserve SmartAV , Conserve Valet and the Conserve Socket. 

These products intended to help tackle 'vampire power '- a popular term referring to the amount of power consumed by devices while in stand-by mode.

The fight against 'vampire power ' is a growing trend and was a popular theme at international technology fair CES (January 6-9) earlier this year. At CES, appliance company GE released the Nucleus home energy manager which allows consumers to monitor their electricity usage and see which devices consume the most energy even when not in use.

The Conserve Insight from Belkin (£24.99 /€29.90) monitors the energy consumption of any device connected to it in terms of money, watts and carbon dioxide. The Conserve Valet (£44.99/€39.90), Conserve SmartAV (£34.99 /€44.90) and the Conserve Socket(£9.99/€13.90) operate slightly differently, automatically turning off devices when not in use.  

The Conserve Valet can charge multiple mobile devices and then cuts the power to each device in turn once it is charged; the Conserve SmartAv multi-socket senses whether connected devices such as a TV, stereo or games console are in use or not and cuts power to each device accordingly. The Conserve Socket has a power timer then switches off after a pre-set amount of time - 30 minutes, three hours, or six hours - allowing devices to be charged only for the amount of time required.

Other similar devices such as GE's 24-Hour Power Strip Timer or SmartSockets from Kensington are available to buy at amazon.com and other retailers.

So-called 'vampire power' is a major source of energy consumption: the Lawrence Berkley International Laboratory, which is closely associated with the US Department of Energy, estimates that in an average American home 'vampire power' accounts for 10 percent of all electricity usage.

More information on 'vampire power' can be found at www.vampirepowersucks.com.

The new editions to the Belkin Conserve range, launched last summer in the USA, are now available to buy across the UK and Ireland from Amazon, Argos, Comet and Tescos. The full range will be launched across Europe later in the year. ( Note pricing in Euros refers to Ireland only; prices for mainland Europe are not yet available)

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