5 Energy Saving Gadgets

Life is much more convenient since everything went tablet-shaped, smartphone shaped and otherwise electronic. Unfortunately this also involves a load of power consumption, which for reasons both ecological and economic can spell bad news. Here, then, are ten technologies and gadgets designed to bring the power bills down – they aren't ranked in any particular order as business’ needs will be different:

  • Adblock Plus
    A small saving but be aware that pop-up ads on a laptop take extra processing power and lighting, particularly on mobile platforms. Since smartphones are among the worst culprits when it comes to running short of juice, and ads take up 65% of an app’s communication energy and around 23% of an app’s total energy demands (source: Adblock Plus) it can be worth installing an ad blocker just to ensure this sort of energy is saved. The company notes that even if phone owners don’t want to install the software, many would still save on power if they were to stop leaving apps open when they are no longer using them. We’ll come back to that later.
  • Power management software
    Companies including Verismic offer power management software which keeps an eye on an individual’s power usage on a computer and allocates electricity as necessary. It includes a function called DynamicWakeUp, which learns when a particular user is on lunch, when their shifts start and other working patterns, and reduces the power when it’s not going to be needed. The software also has a DynamicBrightness feature which does what it suggests in the name – checks on the lighting conditions and adjusts screen brightness to match.
  • Power Distribution Units
    Companies including Enlogic are trying to improve the lot of the data centre; this allows larger installations to allocate the power their systems need more efficiently than before.
  • Virtualisation
    Related to the Data Centre is the question of whether you actually need all the computers you buy and use as your company grows. Having an external company host your systems so that you log onto them rather than buying and above all running your own servers can be an inefficient way of running a business if your requirement is comparatively modest; an external service company could allow you to share a resource securely with another business so less equipment and power is actually necessary.
  • Solar power
    The solar power industry has excited much comment in recent years as legislation has changed. Some items can be solar powered with or without photovoltaic cells on your roof; if you can read this then the Logitech solar keyboard must be working, it looks ordinary but has a strip of photosensitive cells that produce enough power to make it run wirelessly and communicate with the PC. If you opt for the roof-installed version, check the SolarSafe from Prescient Power, which attaches the panels to each other and makes them more difficult to steal.

For all of that, never overlook the management of the people behind the technology in use. Often it is they, not the machine, that make the bad decisions. A few years ago a community hall was trying to reduce its electricity bill; the staff would assiduously turn everything off before leaving and were constantly surprised by the cost. Only by coming back to pick something up one evening did the manager realise that the cleaner was coming in, switching everything back on again and forgetting to turn it off – very much a people rather than a technology issue.