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About Advanced Power Strips

How to Select an Advanced Power Strip

Many electronics consume electricity whether they are on or off. Advanced power strips can eliminate some of this consumption by turning off the power at the socket when the device is not being used. There are two types of advanced power strips, known as "Tier 1" ("master controlled") and "Tier 2" ("activity monitor") technologies.


Tier 1 Master Controlled Power Strips

These power strips have one master socket, one or more "always-on" sockets, and one or more controlled sockets. The concept is simple. When the device plugged into the master socket is turned off, the power strip detects the drop in consumption, and then cuts the power to the controlled sockets, eliminating energy consumption from those peripheral devices. A typical scenario would be to have a television connected to the master socket, and the gaming system, sound system, and DVD player connected to the controlled sockets, so when the television is turned off all of the peripheral devices turn off as well.

The savings associated with the use of a Tier 1 master controlled power strip will vary based on the energy consumption of the connected electronics when turned off as well as behavioral factors. The deemed annual savings presented in the Massachusetts 2012-2015 Technical Resource Manual (pdf) for Tier 1 master controlled power strips is 79 kWh. Using an electric rate of $0.10/kWh (the U.S. average across all customer types in 2015), this would represent an annual economic savings of $7.90.


Tier 2 Activity Monitor Power Strips

Tier 2 power strips do not depend solely on the power draw through a master socket to determine whether to turn off devices, but on activity in the room, allowing savings to be realized when no one is actively using the electronics even if the item connected to the master socket has not been manually turned off. By having a sensor that detects infrared signals in the room (from any of the remotes used to control the electronics), even if the user neglects to turn off the device connected to the master socket, all the controlled devices will eventually turn off automatically if not infrared activity is sensed..

Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership's "Case Study: Tier 2 Advanced Power Strips and Efficiency Programs" (pdf), shows a range of estimated savings from various studies, with the deemed savings adopted by Massachusetts' electric utilities for Tier 2 activity monitor power strips being 242 kWh. Using an electric rate of $0.10/kWh (the U.S. average across all customer types in 2015), this would represent an annual economic savings of $24.20.