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Belkin gear makes electronics smarter about power

Peripherals maker introduces home energy management gear aimed at cutting stand-by power from electronics and providing more info on home energy use.

Belkin on Tuesday is introducing a handful of gadgets designed to cut off the flow off of wasted electricity from electronic devices and to give consumers more data on home energy use.

The peripherals maker filled out its existing Conserve product line with a handheld power meter, timer, charging station, and power strip--all of which are meant to give consumers ways to lower power use at home.

Conserve Insight is a power meter which tells people how much electricity individual devices use. It will cost $29.99 and be available in July.

The Conserve Valet is a charging spot for up to four mobile devices that cuts power to zero when electronics are fully charged. It's meant to address the reality that even when an iPod or cell phone is fully charged, it can still draw a trickle of power from a power pack.

Conserve Insight is a power meter with a six-foot cord that lets people see the cost and carbon dioxide emissions from a single device. Conserve Smart AV is a timer that shuts off power for devices, such as space heaters, and then cuts the stand-by power to zero.

And the Conserve Smart AV is a "smart" power strip and surge protector that shuts off stand-by power to peripherals, such as DVD players or cable boxes connected to a TV. It has two always-on outlets.

With consumers filling up their homes with more electronic gadgets, the amount of electricity on electronics and stand-by power is on the rise. The Energy Center of Wisconsin, echoing earlier studies, published a study this month which estimated that home electronics usage is climbing towards 20 percent of electricity bills in the U.S. and that small changes, such as cutting stand-by power, could make a significant reduction.

Citing data from government labs and Nielsen, Belkin estimates that the average cost of wasted energy from home entertainment gear is $76 per year. All of the products are priced under $40 and are available for early order now on Amazon for July deliver.

Belkin is filling out its energy-management product line because consumers are showing a strong interest in products that minimize their impact on the earth, president and CEO Mark Reynoso said in a statement.

The Conserve Valet is a charging station that cuts power to zero when a gadget is fully charged. Belkin

The company this year has acquired two companies in an indication of how Belkin plans to expand its Conserve line.

It bought Zensi, a small start-up developing a sensor that can read the frequency of plugged-in equipment to create a profile. Belkin plans to use the technology to build a whole-house monitoring product, which will show people how much power different devices use.

Also, last month Belkin bought Juice Technologies, which makes a mobile device for managing electric vehicle charging.