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Inhabitat Earth Day special: seven gadgets that help you save energy


The Week in Green is a new item from our friends at Inhabitat, recapping the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us. Today is Earth Day, so we're happy to have Inhabitat contributing this energy saving guide for you.

Each day Engadget dishes the dirt on the latest gadgets that make your life easier, more efficient, and just plain keep you entertained. But all of those high-tech gadgets have the potential to put a serious strain on your electricity bill, not to mention the environment. Fear not - this Earth Day Inhabitat is here to help with a set of energy-saving devices that will save you some green while dialing back your utilities bill and lowering your carbon footprint. From household energy monitors that help you understand your power usage to smart home control systems, to ingenious energy-visualizing gizmos, check out our top energy-saving gadgets after the break!

The Energy Detective The first step to saving energy at home is knowing how much energy you use. This $145 household power monitor comes with a transmitting unit that taps into a circuit breaker, dual current transformers that are attached to power cables, and a receiving unit that plugs into a wall outlet to display real-time power use. All that hardware hacking is worth it, though -- TED displays energy use for your entire house, and it connects to Google PowerMeter, which means you can easily access energy data from your Google account.

Energy Orb Another great way to cut back of energy use and save on your bill is to avoid using energy when the grid is overloaded. The Energy Orb is an ingenious eye-catching energy monitor that changes color to visualize the current grid load, thus displaying the relative price of electricity at any given moment. As creator Mark Martinez says, "It's non-intrusive... it has a relatively benign effect. But when you suddenly see your ball flashing red, you notice."
Visible Energy UFO Powercenter Visible Energy's series of smart powerstrips gather information on energy consumption every 5 minutes for all devices plugged into the outlets. An LED status light on the unit changes color from green to yellow to red depending on how much power is being used, so you don't have to check the numbers every time you want to see how much energy is being sucked up by your computer. Each outlet can also be set to turn devices on or off at specific times. No word yet on pricing for the powerstrips, but they're set to debut later this year.
Kill-A-Watt The Kill-A-Watt is an oldie but goodie in the world of home energy management. The device is simple to use: just plug it into an outlet and connect any gadget to find out its energy consumption by the kWh. Kill-A-Watt can also calculate energy expenses by the day, month, and year. It's easy, cheap ($20), and effective -- what more could you ask from an energy-saving device?
Wiser Home Control If you're really dedicated to saving energy, consider investing in a Wiser Home Control system. The Wiser Home Controller can connect nearly every device in your house -- lighting controls, security, air conditioning, audiovisual equipment, irrigation systems, motorized blinds and curtains, etc -- so that you can control everything via Internet or cell phone. So if you forgot to turn off the air conditioning, for example, you can easily do it from work or on your commute. The system comes with a range of options, so prices will vary.
SunPower iPhone App Say you've already installed a photovoltaic array on your roof and you're looking to glean even greater energy savings. SunPower offers an innovative iPhone app that lets you monitor the energy your solar system produces in real time. The Solar Electric Home Energy Management System allows you monitor energy produced by SunPower solar systems verses your household's net energy use, so you can make smart decisions about when to use electricity.
Wattson This futuristic power-monitoring device features a sensor hooked up to power cables, a wireless receiver and a readout on top of the box that shows energy consumption by the kilowatt or by cash spent. The box glows red, purple, or blue depending on how much energy is being consumed, so you can take a quick glance at Wattson to estimate your power usage. The device costs $280.

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