Four gift ideas for your favorite energy nerd

Alabama Living Magazine

By Maria Kanevsky

The holiday season is the time for gift giving, but knowing what to get your loved ones isn’t always easy. Here are some gift ideas that are perfect for the energy nerd in your life! The costs range from $25 to $100, so there’s something for everyone. 

Kill A Watt Meter

The Kill A Watt meter allows you to monitor how much energy your appliances are using. By simply plugging in the meter between the appliance and the power outlet, the device can display the energy use in either volts, amps, watts or Hertz. The large monitor clearly shows the electricity use depending on the type of units you choose. The Kill A Watt meter can also calculate cumulative electricity expenses by day, week, month or year, which can help you to plan ahead. This device is perfect to test the efficiency of older appliances, as well as new, efficient appliances to make sure they’re meeting the energy savings that they promise. You can purchase a Kill A Watt meter for about $20 to $30 online or at local retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

ENERGY STAR-Certified Sound Bar

Imagine listening to great sound while watching television, but also using less energy when doing so. This is what an ENERGY STAR-certified sound bar can provide. The ENERGY STAR-certified sound bar uses about 70% less electricity than regular sound bars, which saves you energy and money. They include volume-leveling technology to ensure that commercials are not louder than the actual shows you’re watching, and these lower volumes also save energy. Sound bars create a three-dimensional surround-sound effect, reducing the need for multiple speakers around the room – this also contributes to less energy use.

For anyone that enjoys curling up to a good movie or binging the latest show, the ENERGY STAR-certified sound bar is a great gift to give. The costs depend on the brand, bells and whistles, but Samsung and Vizio offer ENERGY STAR-certified sound bars for about $100.

Smart Power Strip

Power strips allow you to increase the number of outlets in your home, but unlike a normal power strip, smartpower strips help to reduce “vampire power” – this is the energy used by electronics even when they’re in standby mode. 

The great thing about the smart power strip is that you can leave all your electronics plugged in without having to worry about them using standby power because the smart power strip shuts off electricity to those devices when they are in standby mode. This can help you save a significant amount of money over the year, and depending on your home, you can potentially save 10% to 20% of your home energy consumption. 

Smart power strips, like the TrickleStar power strip shown here, allow you to leave electronics plugged in without having to worry about wasting energy. Smart power strips shut off electricity to devices when they are in standby mode, saving you energy and money. 
Photo Credit: TrickleStar

There are three types of outlets in the smart power strip. The first is the “always on” socket, which is meant for things like Wi-Fi or a cable modem; the second is the “main” socket, which is meant for televisions or computers; and the final is the “secondary” socket, which should be connected to electronics like printers, speakers or gaming consoles. Some smart power strips include additional features, like the ability to connect to smart home assistants through voice control or an app, or being able to set a schedule to automatically turn certain devices on or off.

You can purchase a smart power strip for about $25 on or at your local retail stores.

LED Holiday Lights

If you want to celebrate the holidays but also save 80% of the energy you use while doing so, then LED holidays lights should be on your gift list. Get festive this holiday season without taking a toll on your energy bill. 

The benefits of LED holiday lights aren’t limited to energy savings. They are safer since they don’t get as hot as incandescent lights, and they’re sturdier since they aren’t made of glass. LEDs also last much longer than incandescent lights, and they’re easier to install because they’re less likely to overload a wall socket. To manage your energy use more efficiently, you can also add a timer that shuts off the lights as you go to bed.

These are just a few gift ideas for the energy nerd in your life. Whatever you decide to wrap under the tree, have a safe and happy holiday season!


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