The modern home is chock-full of electrical appliances, many of which remain on standby when not in use and add unnecessary bulk to our energy bills. Thankfully, those looking to trim down on power usage aren't exactly short of options, with many devices emerging over the years designed to shut off our appliances at the wall. The Envirotouch is the latest take on the smart, energy-saving switch, relying on one-touch timer buttons to cut power to our appliances soon after we stop using them.
Much like those old, circular timer switches that act as middle men between an appliance's plug and the wall socket, Envirotouch sets the outlet to switch off after a user-determined period of time. The intention, however, is to simplify this process as much as possible, so rather than carefully turning back a dial, users need only to hit a button one time.
Envirotouch can be retrofitted to existing outlets and installed in new ones. Equipped with four buttons, users can choose to have the power switched off after 15, 45, 60 or 120 minutes. A washing machine cycle might take 52 minutes and could be turned off soon after, for example, or your electric blanket might only take 40 minutes to turn your bed linen into a toasty cocoon. You get the idea.
Some of the savings estimates offered by the company include AUD$110 (US$90) annually for five 50 W halogen lights that would otherwise be left on for three hours a day, and AUD$146 (US$120) annually for a 2,400 W heater left on for two hours a day. These will obviously vary between homes, countries and energy providers, but the message is the same: there are savings to be made and carbon emissions to be mitigated if we can avoid energy going to waste.
Different models are available, with the Envirotouch able to be fitted to both switches and outlets and one model also enabling users to set up automatic daily cycles. This might prove useful for shutting down entertainment systems overnight and starting up the coffee machine in the morning, for instance.
The Envirotouch switches must be installed by qualified electricians. To begin with they will become available in Australia in the first weeks of 2015 and be priced at AUS$75.95 (US$63). The company tells us they hope to also eventually offer the switches internationally.