Techie energy-saving gifts that keep on giving

(ACEEE blog, 13 Dec 2019) This year, give a gift that saves energy. There are tons of tech gadgets and gizmos that will wow your loved ones while still being incredibly energy efficient—meaning, they’ll cut energy bills and reduce pollution, helping the environment and public health.

From flashy light displays to practical hardware devices, energy-efficient gifts will keep ‘giving’ long past the holiday season.

Here are six gift ideas that offer efficiency—without sacrificing the wow factor.

Electronic streaming devices: Streaming sticks and devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV do way more than cue up Netflix. They can also stream live TV using 30-75% less energy than traditional set-top boxes. Many cable and satellite providers have introduced apps so customers can stream via these devices and give up their set-top boxes—and associated monthly rental fees—altogether. Even better? If your gift recipients decide to change their cable or satellite plan, they’ll still have the streaming device to use with their new service.

Smart speakers: Recent research shows that smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo (Alexa) and Google Home are energy efficient, but make sure that you are using them for optimal energy use! Recent testing (link is external) by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that some newer TVs that allow users to turn on and control their TV through their smart speaker, experience a spike in standby power when the speaker is connected, in some cases doubling annual TV energy use.

Energy monitoring gadgets: Did you know that you can monitor your energy use all on your own? Energy monitoring devices like the Sense (link is external), Neurio (link is external), and Smappee (link is external) install in your home’s electrical panel and send you information about energy use and the specific energy loads in your home. This lets you see which appliances and equipment contribute to your energy consumption and allows you to calibrate your home for optimal energy use. Some products can also monitor output from your solar panels.

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ACEEE blog, 13 Dec 2019: Techie energy-saving gifts that keep on giving