How much electricity do we use?

For a long time now I have wondered "how much electricity do we use"?   I've seen products that tell you how much electricity your using but never really pursued them because of their perceived complexity and cost.  Recently I saw a post on one of my favorite websites called Gizmodo. They were advertising a Belkin powerstrip with a automatic/manual powerswitch.  Anything plugged into that power strip would turn off automatically with the pushbutton timer.  This seemed like a good idea and at a cost of $35 it seemed like a good investment. This powerstrip I figured would allow us to fully power off the standby electronics like our stereo system, TV, battery charger's etc. These things still draw power even when turned off also called vampire power.

Before I made my purchase I decided to look around the internet just a bit more.  I discovered another power strip that seemed like a better choice.  The "Smart Strip".  This power strip has the unique ability to sense when power is reduced on one control outlet (shown in blue), when this occurs the power strip shuts down the other controlled outlets(shown in white).  For example, our computer system has 2 monitors, 1 external hard drive, 1 digital camera dock, and a scanner.  When the computer is turned off without the smart strip all the connected components are still on and drawing power.  With the Smart Strip when the computer is shut down all the devices connected to the switched outlets on the strip are also powered down.  This saves the "vampire power" loss that would occur with the standard power strip. Here is a picture of the smart strip:

After deciding this was the strip for me, next was where to buy it?  Again I did some searching and found a site called "Smart Home USA".   They seemed to have the MOST information about the smart strip and also had some interesting packages that peaked my interest even more.  When I initally found the Smart Strip I wondered how I would know what devices were drawing the most power and also the vampire power, in other words how would I know what devices to plug into the controlled outlets.  Luckily Smart Home USA had these packages that included everything I would need and more at what I considered to be reasonalbe investment.

The kit I chose to purchase was the "Smart energy kit #2"

This kit had everything I was looking for and cost $175.  The Smart Strip, the appliance energy meter and the wireless whole house meter. I ordered it online and in roughly about a week the kit has arrived.

In my next post I will discuss what electronic devices we will monitor for power usage and report our findings.  Stay tuned for the savings!