What is a Smart Strip? And How Do I Get One?

Originally published Spring 2014

Since last fall we’ve provided Home Energy Check-Ups to more than 800 homeowners in central and northern Virginia. Not only have our Energy Coaches given these folks tailored advice on saving energy and money, they have installed (as part of the flat $20 fee) more than 6,000 CFL lightbulbs and 1,000 smart power strips.

Book your Home Energy Check-Up appointment today to see if you need a smart strip. 

Reston checkup smartstrip (640x427)During that time we’ve realized two things. First, people don’t usually know what a “smart strip” is before we walk in the door. Two, they have quickly become the most popular item we install during the Check-Up. So what is a smart strip and why are they all the rage?

What is a smart strip?

It’s exactly what it sounds like – a “smart” power strip or surge protector that helps you conserve energy.  Many electronics draw standby power from the outlet even when they are not in use.  It may be impractical and inconvenient to unplug electronics like TVs and computer monitors when not in use, so smart strips help to reduce this unnecessary “phantom load,” which can contribute up to 10% of your energy use.

How does it work?

Current sensing smart strips have designated “master outlets” that detect when a device is in use, not in use, or in sleep mode and powers off the rest of the strip to prevent devices from pulling standby power accordingly.  For example, if a computer monitor is plugged into the master outlet, when the monitor is off or on standby, the other devices – likely dependent computer accessories – would also power down, reducing the phantom load.

Why does LEAP offer them as part of the Home Energy Check-Up?

Smart strips are a quick and simple way to start using less energy in your home right away and, therefore, it’s one of the most common installs of a Home Energy Check-Up performed by LEAP.  Smart strips can run up to $30 and can save you up to 100 kWh a year, so this perk (we offer them as part of the $20 flat fee), along with its annual energy savings, make your Home Energy Check-Up well worth it!

Book your Home Energy Check-Up today and a smart strip could soon be helping you save energy and money!

— Alex Howle, LEAP