I'll admit that oftentimes the process of "going green" feels a little overwhelming to me.
It is obviously an amazingly important thing to do for our planet and our children's futures... however, I'm nearly always left feeling like there's something more that I should be doing.
Reusable water bottle? Check. Recycle? Always. Conserve water and electricity? Absolutely. Reusable grocery bags? Yes... well, when I remember. So, sure, I try. But does that mean I can give up doing things like charging my phone or running my microwave in an effort to help the environment? No.
Fortunately, recently I was introduced to a line of products that allows you to take a step in the right direction for finding energy-saving opportunities throughout your home and letting you sleep a little better at night knowing you've made positive changes in the right direction: Belkin and their Conserve collection.
Known for offering an extensive range of innovations designed to give computer and consumer electronics users seamless integration in their homes, cars, and on the go, Belkin's Conserve line allows you to take control of your energy use quickly and easily.
Knowing that the chances of me running my laptop for less time during the day (ha!) were pretty slim, I was struck by this line on Belkin's Facebook page: "I don't use my things less, I just use less power." Yes! That's what I need, a way to continue to use the electronics and appliances that, honestly, I'm going to use anyway, but in a greener way.
When the Belkin Conserve Valet, Conserve Insight, and Conserve Smart AV arrived, it was time to see how they could help with my energy consumption.
Right away the Conserve Valet Smart USB Charging Station was able to help conserve energy while also reducing clutter - two things that are always welcome. As opposed to a typical charger that continues to draw power at all times (even when not plugged into a device), the Valet automatically shuts off all power after your devices are fully charged.
By keeping all of your mobile gadgets in one convenient place and allowing you to manage the cords hidden away inside, you're able to always find your phone, iPod, camera, and more when you need it and know that it will be fully charged and ready (it even senses when new devices are added).
With room to charge up to four devices at once (freeing up more outlets), I was impressed with just how user-friendly and simple the Valet was right out of the box. It comes with a regular and a mini USB cord and has four USB outputs for easy-access to charging on all sides.
Simply plug your item in and rest it on the non-slip tray and with the push of one button, you are left knowing that even if you leave it all plugged in overnight, you won't have wasted an extra drop of energy.
Speaking of wasting power, when it comes to finding out just how much, the Belkin Conserve Insight Energy Cost Monitor will tell you everything you want to know at a single glance.
Whereas other monitors simply show how much energy your devices are using, the Insight takes things even further and allows you to find out the watts used, the amount of carbon dioxide that is being produced to generate the electricity for your device, and the actual cost of operation.
Setup is virtually non-existent for the Insight, as all that is required is to plug it in to a standard outlet and then plug a device right into it. To say that I wasn't all that pleased to see that it costs me more than $36 a year to power my laptop (shown in the picture above) would be somewhat of an understatement considering what a hunk of junk I consider it to be.
Whether you're focusing on reducing your environmental impact or if it is worth it to switch to Compact Fluorescent bulbs or how much energy your old freezer is wasting, the Conserve Insight makes it easy to find out and track it all.
So what can you do to actually reduce your energy usage? Belkin has a variety of great surge protectors and the Belkin Conserve Smart AV has been one of the easiest changes that I've made and enjoyed.
With room for eight devices, the Smart AV gives you the opportunity to control six of them with one Master Outlet. Simply plug in your chosen device (such as your television) to the green-colored location and the five connected outlets will turn on and off depending on the power of that device.
Meaning that when you turn off your television, the Smart AV will automatically turn off the five items that you've chosen to go with it, such as the DVD player, VCR, game console, speakers, receivers, and more. How easy is that?
Being a surge protector, using the Smart AV has also allowed me to not worry about damaging power spikes or surges, while it's slim design has been easy to integrate into our household. For items that I don't want to lose power, I simply plug them into the two dark gray "not-controlled" outlets and they'll always be protected and available.
When it comes down to it, everyone has to make the choices that work for themselves and their family in terms of how green they want to be. Some changes, such as starting a compost or switching to cloth diapers, just might not be attainable depending on your lifestyle.
But having an organized, high quality place to plug in your phone that will also save energy? That's not a hard change. Or finding out that leaving the television on in the room while you go outside to play costs more than you thought? That's a lesson that Belkin can help you learn with their great products.
Available directly from their website, the Conserve Valet retails for $39.99 (or on Amazon for $36.24), the Conserve Insight for $29.99 (or on Amazon for $28.24), and the Conserve Smart AV for $29.99 (or on Amazon for $27.77). You can also connect with Belkin on Twitter and Facebook to find out much more about their numerous ways to continue to use all of your favorite devices while also doing your part to help the environment.
(Other than the aforementioned Conserve products that I was provided by Belkin, I was not compensated or enticed or to do this review in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion of this company and their great products.)