Saving money on electricity – one simple step

woman-piggy-bank-mAs part of our electricity usage challenge I bought a remote control switch for the router and peripherals.

I was a bit embarrassed to admit it because I bought purely for laziness.

I mean, I can go downstairs and turn off the router at night time right?

The thing is when I’m snuggled in bed with my hot water bottle after watching a DVD or reading I don’t WANT to get up and neither did Mr Green, so we were leaving the router on all night.

Our remote control unit means we can switch everything off from the comfort of bed. What’s not to love!

Some of our lovely readers were intrigued by this new set up, so I’m going to tell you more about it.

Rachel said she thought the router used so little power that it wouldn’t be worth turning it off overnight. (I did too until I did my own calculations).
She asked where I got the figures for the pay-back period and where I got the remote from.

The remote came from Lidls but I’ve seen them online. The best search string is “remote control mains socket“. You’ll find plenty of them on eBay and can more or less choose the amount of sockets you get. They look like this:


The one we bought cost £16.99 and came with four plug sockets and one remote control.

I’ve got one of these sockets on the computer set up – this powers the router, desktop tower, desktop screen, wireless keyboard and mouse, printer, telephone, laptop and desk light.

I worked out the payback on the remote control switch by using an energy monitor for a month to get an average reading. They look like this:


You can programme the cost of running an individual gadget in your home with one of these and see how much energy it is using. Again, ours came from Lidls for about £8.

If you want one of these search for “plug in power and energy monitor“.

The set up uses 1/2 kwh per night – not much as you say, but over the course of a year that’s 182 kwhs which at today’s prices equates to £22. It’s one of those things that seems insignificant but adds up.

Zoie commented that turning everything off at night was better for our health and I have to agree. It’s been getting to me for a long time that we leave all these things on at night. Ok, they are not in the same room as us but EMFs aren’t stopped by a brick wall! I know there are heaps of EMFs outside that we can do nothing about, but I always advocate taking care of the things that ARE within your control. See my article on 12 ways to reduce EMF exposure for more ideas.

So there you go, an investment that will pay for itself in 187 days (less when we start using it on other things that get left on) AND reduce my carbon footprint!

What about you – what’s the simplest way you’ve found to reduce your electricity consumption?


  1. nadine sellers on November 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    very useful info…will pass it on , thanks; i enjoy the simple format and bare bones–zero waste wording.

  2. Rachel on November 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks for the details – very interesting. As our total usage is only about 5 kWh per day, I would definitely think it worthwhile saving 1/2 kWh each night.

    All the same, I don’t think I’ll be buying one of these remote controls because our set-up is rather different from yours. We don’t have a desktop, just laptops, and we always switch these off before we go to bed. We use the printer rarely enough that we only switch it on when we actually use it, rather than leaving it on in between times. The same goes for the wireless keyboard and mouse (I hardly ever use them these days, if I’m honest. I should probably get rid of them) and we don’t have a desk light (not that you’d leave that on overnight anyway). The only things on your list that we leave on overnight are telephone and router, and I really don’t believe they use enough on their own to be worth switching off.

    As we have an electric shower (7 kW), the simplest way I’ve reduced my electricity consumption is to take shorter showers. I’m also careful to only fill the kettle (3 kW) with as much water as we need. If it’s slightly too little, it takes no time to boil a little more water to top up the mugs. If there are high-power devices we can cut down on, that’s going to have a much bigger impact on our total usage than lower powered things like routers and phone chargers. Those electricity monitors are very useful for finding out which is which.

  3. Mrs Green on December 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    @Rachel: I think you’re right; better to invest that money somewhere else. 5 kwhs per day is amazing; we would never reach that. The least we’ve had has been 8 and I think that was back in summer when Mr G and I were outside all day and ate salad at every meal 🙂