The Handy Switch

I turned on the TV while eating lunch. CNN ran a little Earth Day segment. A question was asked about things you can do at the office to save energy. One of the items mentioned was that you can save about seven dollars worth of energy a month by turning off a printer. Besides reminding me that it’s Earth Day (which I would have already known were I truly GreenTM), it made me think about a simple device I have been using to stop some of the power leaks caused by devices that are plugged in all the time (many of which are on even when they’re “off”). So for my Earth Day submission I give you the GE Handy Switch.


There may be similar switches made by a company other than General Electric. It just happens that the ones I have found locally are the Handy Switch made by GE. They come in both three prong (grounded) and two prong versions. As you can see from the pictures, I like to draw a “0” and a “1” with a marker to make it easy to see at arm’s length which position is off or on.


If a device such as a printer can use about seven dollars (that number comes from the CNN story, I’ve not confirmed it in any way) worth of electricity a month then, at around five dollars each, these switches can quickly pay back their cost in energy savings. If you’re curious about how much electricity your devices are actually using you can get a meter such as the Kill A Watt to measure that.


I keep buying more of these over time because they seem to actually be handy. They are available at Wal-Mart and others stores, at least here in the US. I assume there are similar devices suited to the local electrical connector specifications available in other countries.


If we all do little things to save energy, like plug small electrical leaks, over time the savings will add up, in our individual electric bills and in the world’s energy use.

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