Save Money / Consumer News

Group shows off newest energy-savings gadgets

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Saving money on your energy bill may be as simple as changing your thermostat or your showerhead, or simply knowing how hot your water gets at home. A conference of energy professionals showed off some of the latest energy-saving gadgets.

How much is your energy bill? Probably more than you'd like it to be. That's one reason why the Association of Energy Services Professionals met this week to figure out ways to cut energy consumption.

"We think energy efficiency, if it's done properly, can be an extra fuel source," said Meg Matt, president and CEO of the Association of Energy Services Professionals.

So on display in a conference room at the Westin Long Beach, Matt showed several gadgets that could help people use less energy and in turn save more money on utility bills.

"You can spend a lot of money or a little money, but the savings are fantastic," said Matt.

When you start your shower, a lot of cold water comes out before the hot water heats up. But sometimes you forget about it and then it's a waste. With a ShowerStart showerhead, when the hot water comes out it becomes just a trickle. When you're ready to shower, you pull a cord and you're ready to go.

"A typical family of four, you can expect to save somewhere north of $200 a year using this product, and probably somewhere between 3- and 4,000 gallons of water," said Alan Work, a ShowerStart sales representative.

There's a programmable thermostat from Honeywell that can be controlled remotely with your smartphone.

"When you're away from the house, you can program what temperature you want it to be when you come home, and check on the temperature that's currently in the house in case you left the house and you forgot to turn down your thermostat," said Matt.

It doesn't just take high technology to save on your energy bill. A thermostatic plastic card can help. You place it near your hot water and it will read its temperature. For example, water that's 150 degrees Fahrenheit should be 120 degrees. For every 10 degrees over 120, you're spending an extra $10 a month.

"Here's a great way to charge your cellphone. Say you're up in the mountains or at the beach and you need to have your cellphone charged up at all times. This is a solar panel. You just hook your phone up, charge it up for about an hour, you're good to go," said Suzanne Jones, AESP marketing vice president. "It's available at Best Buy for about $100."

There's a really simple device called a Modlet. You plug it into your outlet at home. Then you plug in your stereo, your lights, your coffee pot -- and you can turn them on or off through a smartphone app. It's about $50 at Best Buy.

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