Owl wireless electricity monitor and power saving adapters
TechCast Reviews is keen to keep the green agenda going with reviews on products that can help you to be more environmentally friendly. We’ve featured reviews on solar energy gadgets in the past, low-powered set-top boxes, energy monitors and more. But today, I’m going to take a look at a range of products from the Owl range. I’ve integrated a range of Owl products into my home and the office for the past couple of months to see whether they can deliver on their promises and whether you can benefit from doing the same.
Most people can do something to live a ‘greener life’ and make cutbacks on consumption and waste. One of the big obstacles of doing this is the convenience and interruption factor. Nobody likes to have to change their ways when it works so well for them. So in order for a green product to be successful, it needs to integrate into our lives in a transparent fashion.
Owl has developed a range of products that can help you save energy and thus save money. But the key thing they’ve considered is how they can do that without the inconvenience. There’s a couple of products in the Owl range that are designed especially to help you with this.
But first, lets take a look at assessing how much energy you’re using, so that you can calculate how much you’re saving and this first product feature will do just that. The Owl Micro is a wireless electricity monitor that provides you with real-time updates on the Kilowatts you’re consuming and how much that is costing you. At a glance, you can instantly see how much energy is being used from any of your home electrical appliances.
Installation takes just a few seconds and can be done by yourself. Attached to the transmitter is a sensor that clips around the cable by your meter. Now there’s usually several cables attached to the meter but you will be able to identify the correct one with help from the instruction guide. The monitor and the transmitter each require 2x AA batteries. Since they’re energy saving products, they’re designed to be economical to run. I’ve been using the Owl rechargeable batteries (sold separately) and they’ve lasted me the two months without having to recharge.
Now that you’ve got your energy reading, I’d like to talk about the Owl products that will actively help you to save energy. These come in the form of multi-plug power strips and wall power-adapters. Integrated into these power strips and adapters is a wireless sensor that allows you to control whether they have electricity flowing to it.
One of the Owl power strips has four plugs with each having an individual remote facility. The remote control included has four buttons which each individually control the four separate plugs on the power strip. This gives you extra control and flexibility over what devices you want powering.
I have my router, desk lamp and two external hard drives attached to this power strip. I only use my external drives for backup and archiving data so I don’t need them on all the time. Based on the readings from the electricity monitor I mentioned earlier on in this review, I was able to tell that my hard drives were consuming energy when on standby mode. So to alleviate that problem, I just hit buttons 3 and 4 on my remote to cut the power to them. This means I can keep my lamp and router powered for when I need them and then switch the plugs for the hard drives on and off as and when I need them.
Owl sells the four plug power strip with individual controls as well as a four plug power strip with one master control (so all on or all off) as well as wall socket plugs. I use a combination of these three around the office and the home. I have a wall plug controlled by remote at the main plug socket which knocks out the power to the whole of the office. I usually power this down at the end of each night or if I’m away for more than half a day. The great thing about having the remote facility is that I don’t have to go reaching behind my bookcase to get to the switch. I then have the four plug power strip for my desk devices (lamp, router and two drives) and then the other four gang power switch for the home entertainment system (Xbox, TV, set top box, DVD recorder).
The Owl range of products provides a complete system for identifying, monitoring and then reducing your energy consumption. And these aren’t gimmicky products that are just riding on the coat tail’s of the green movement. There are some real savings to be made on your home electricity bill by implementing some of these products. Find out more about these products by visiting http://www.theowl.com/