Cutting down on unnecessary electricity usage has clear benefits for both the environment and your hip pocket, and devices that tackle the issue of standby power are an obvious place to start.

The most recent UK figures from the Energy Saving Trust show that in one year, stereos left on standby cost £290m and produced 1.6 million tonnes of CO2. Set-top boxes such as DVD players cost £194m and produced 1.06 million tonnes of CO2, and TVs cost £88m and 480,000 tonnes of CO2.

Remembering to switch devices off at the wall is an immediate, and free, solution, but this isn’t always practical. To take the hassle out of proceedings it would be wise to invest in a dedicated standby solution such as the Intellipanel from OneClick Power.

These actually come in a range of different flavors based on the specific components you wish to monitor – be it TV/Audio, Desktop or Laptop computers. The design of the device also varies as either an eight-berth extension cable or a three-berth block.

Most standby solutions of this type work in a similar way. Typically a single ‘master’ device, which for a home cinema setup would be a TV, is used to control all of the other devices. When a TV is switched off, power is cut to the other connected components to a lowest standby power of around 0.4 watts. Most modern devices take into account the fact that some boxes may be set to record programs overnight or when other components are switched off and offer one or two ‘permanent power’ sockets that will remain active all of the time.

Standby solutions can save up to 35 watts per hour and depending on the number of components connected could add up to significant savings over time.

Single components can also be controlled with simple alternatives such as those on offer from Energenie and Tricklesaver, who offer automatic standby shutdown by detecting when a device is put in standby mode and cutting power to a minimum.

Alternatives to traditional standby savers are also available for PCs and notebooks. The EcoButton, for example, connects via USB and switches a machine into a deep sleep mode when pressed, reporting current savings to date on-screen.

Standby solutions should be an essential purchase for the environmentally conscious and the wide range of devices that would typically be sitting in a modern home sapping power when idle means that it’s possible to recover the modest cost of such a solution in just six months.

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