Without fail, there’s that once-a-month moment when I glance over my ConEd electricity bill and think: “okay, what can I do to make this suck less? Like, even a little?” Naturally, I focus on obvious energy-drainers in my apartment (I’m taking ‘bout you, AC window units) that cause my electric bills to spike during the summer months. As a well-trained turner-offer but not much of an unplugger, I sometimes neglect to focus on "slaying" smaller household energy-drainers, particularly sources of vampire power — also known as standby power or when an appliance is turned off but still sucking a small amount of juice since it’s plugged in.

Thanks to a new line of "smart" surge protectors by Accell, managing vampire power around my apartment will be a bit easier and my monthly electric bills? Hopefully, over time, they'll become a little less sucky.

  

Recently, Accell sent along a GreenGenius Smart Surge Protector for me to test. The company offers three models of the GreenGenius (not to be confused with the similarly named line of eco-friendly trash bags): A general purpose 6-outlet surge protector ($34.99), a 10-outlet surge protector geared towards home office set-ups ($49.99), and a 10-outlet surge protector meant for home theatre systems ($54.99).

All models of the GreenGenius automatically cut off power to idle electronic devices — no plugging/unplugging required. Given that by Department of Energy estimates, standby power claims a whopping 15 percent of energy consumed in an average household, a device like the GreenGenius can certainly pay for itself within a short period of time.

I tried out the 6-outlet model, which suited me just fine since I’m not exactly a big gearhead. It was easy to set up and install among the mess of cords claimed by my television, cable box, wireless router, modem, DVD player, Harman Kardon speakers, and a lamp or two. The hardest part? Figuring out which cord belonged to which gadget and arranging them accordingly. 

The 6-outlet GreenGenius Smart Surge Protector (see image on left) features one Master Outlet (computer or TV), two energy-saving Switch Outlets (speakers, DVD players, gaming systems, etc.) and three Always-On Outlets (modems, phones, clocks, etc.) Added bonus: it features noise-reduction circuitry that's ideal for AV junkies and a phone line splitter.

Do you want your monthly electric bills to suck a bit less? Looking for an easy, safe way to combat vampire power? Then head on over to the Accell website to learn more about the power- and money-saving features of GreenGenius and to find out where you can buy one

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.