Plug In to Savings

Where to Stick Your Plugs: Our electronic gadgets are getting the better of us and Belkin offers a solution—to the energy sucking if not the excess wires. It’s a Conserve Energy-Saving Surge Protector with Remote Switch ($49.99 for an 8-outlet; $59.99 for a 10) that allows you to power only what you need. Two of the outlets are “always on” for things like your wireless router and cordless phone. The others are remote-switched outlets for your computer, scanner, TV, phone charger and anything else you only need on in designated intervals. The surge protector’s cord length is a generous four feet. The sleek remote goes in a wall holder, has a range of 60 feet and can control multiple Conserve Surge Protectors. It will eliminate all the “phantom loads’ (the energy lost when appliances remain plugged in when turned off), saving $50/year on energy costs according to the company.

CONTACT: Belkin, (800) 223-5546,

How to Get Your Neighbor’s Attention: If you stick a few Practical Solar Home Heliostats in your backyard, your neighbors might just think you’re trying to communicate with alien lifeforms. These square, pole-mounted mirrors that track the sun provide as much light per unit as 40 100-watt lightbulbs and the solar heat of a medium-sized space heater. The heliostats shoot their light and heat through your home windows and skylights, but, rest assured, this will not lead to blindness or setting your home on fire. Each produces 3,000 times more power than it consumes—though only during the day and when the sun is shining. Good for clean, green supplemental heating and lighting—provided you’ve got $995 for the heliostat and $345 for the control system to go with it.

CONTACT: Practical Solar, (617) 464-1770.

Selective Shower Power: ShowerTek has added green versions of its chrome wall unit, handheld or combo unit that promise annual water savings of up to $250. These showerheads have a green tab that allows you to adjust from a full-on jet-spray to an eco-friendly low-flow that reduces the water used in a five-minute shower from 40 to 7½ gallons.

CONTACT: ShowerTek, (800) 776-6364.—Brita Belli