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Category: Product Reviews Page 1 of 4

Picking the Best Energy Efficient Projector For You

So you’ve decided to finally get that projector you’ve been thinking about for months. Or maybe you’ve already had one and want to upgrade. If you have been searching, I’m sure you’ve discovered that there are A LOT of options. Choosing the projector that’s right for you and you environment can sometimes be a complicated process if you really care about what you’re buying and also trying to factor in power consumption.

Just Some Thoughts to Get You Started

There are a few types of projectors out there that you can get your hands on. The differences in these usually depend on the source of light, the bulbs. There are LCD, LED, and DLP lamps and all have different characteristics that make them their own. What are the differences in these 3 letter acronyms, you may ask. Well that part is fairly simple.

The LCD (liquid crystal display) is the more of the traditional way of displaying content on the projectors. These types of projectors use what is commonly referred to as a lamp. But, over the last few years, the advancement of projecting and bulb technology has skyrocketed and deserves a mention. These advancements have produced bulbs such as the LED (light-emitting diode) and the DLP (digital light processing). These are definitely the more energy efficient ways to go!

LEDs tend to have a much longer lifespan. On average, they last up to 20,000 hours longer than LCD lamps. This makes the LED more reliable because it fails less often and doesn’t burn out like LCDs. Another factor is, LCDs have very hazardous mercury inside them, which is not a factor with the LEDs. LED seems to already be the best option if lower power consumption is your number one goal. Also, The LED lighting systems provide a larger number of colors and also more saturated colors, making the picture appear brighter.

One disadvantage that the LED system has however, is the inability to be as bright as the lamp based systems. This would present a problem if you are in a room that you just can’t get dark enough.

DLPs

Digital light processing is a solid state technology and only uses a single device to produce images. This helps in the production by allowing manufacturers to make smaller, thinner projectors than the competitor systems, which require three devices to function. One big advantage that DLPs have over LEDs is that dust does not affect them. The biggest enemy with LEDs is the dust. The filter in an LED system needs to be cleaned very regularly, which is not the case with the DLP systems.

 

Conclusion

Regardless which projector technology you choose, make sure you look up the power consumption of your existing or future projector.

5 Unique Products That Save You Time and Energy

Once there was a time where our civilization as a whole was as energy efficient as possible. Long before the outstanding advancements in society that allowed us to live comfortably and sometimes conscious-less. But the privileges in which we all enjoy in the modern day, occasionally come at a cost.

That cost? Overwhelming energy consumption. But today, we have the responsibility of managing it and putting in the effort to find ways to be as efficient as possible. There is no time in history where it has been harder than now to do that, so here are a few ideas that could be just a start at minimizing our footprint.

1. GE Z-Wave Wireless Smart Lighting Control Smart Switch

Forgot to turn the lights off before leaving the house? The GE Z-Wave is a smart switch that gives you the wireless control to turn lights on and off, schedule a timed event or create a custom scene from anywhere in the world. This is the perfect solution to completely eliminate the consequences of a high bill just because you forgot to turn a light switch off. Of course, you’re going to need a brain (or a hub) to communicate to this switch and there are a couple of options, but just to get you started….

2. Samsung SmartThings Hub

This is a perfect hub to compliment the GE Z-Wave Smart Switch. Not only can this connect to the switch, but can also connect with a wide range of compatible devices, including lights, speakers, locks, thermostats, sensors, and more. You can actually use this to teach your home tricks like what to do when you’re asleep, awake, and all other sorts of great things. This essentially allows you to create an automated and sensor triggered environment that, in the long run, will save you a ton on the use of lights and electronics while at the same time providing you with the convenience of increased safety. A bit of a no brainer, but it does require an internet connection and is also fully compatible with Amazon Alexa.

3. Niagara Conservation Sava Spa Shower Head

Water conserving shower heads are nothing new, but Niagara’s Sava Spa Showerhead has a luxurious feel and is actually pretty high water saving benefits. It has a patented pressure compensator that ensures a consistent flow, regardless of water pressure. It’s built from a durable brass construction, which ideally will provide the longest use, getting the most savings in your home and in your wallet.

4. Save A Watt Phantom Power Indicator

This little tool allows you to check how much power your electronics are using in standby mode. How much energy are your chargers using by just being plugged in? What about your video game console on standby or even your laptop? Built-in LED indicators quickly show how much electricity is being wasted and help you identify the best places to save. Just plug it into any grounded outlet and attach the item you want to test and you’re good to go!

5. The Laundry POD

You might be surprised to hear of the numerous resources that go into washing and drying your clothes. You have water. That water has to be heated so now your water heater has to consume electricity or gas to sufficiently get that job done. And not to mention all that goes into all the detergent you have to use with washing machines. The Laundry POD is a great alternative for all of that! It is a washing device that holds 6 liters of water and only requires about 1.5 teaspoon of laundry detergent. It has a spinning, washing and draining system that is operated by the hand turned crank on top and washes the cycle of clothes in less than ten minutes! There are few other ways to save this efficiently for years to come.

These are only the beginning in what it takes to most efficiently conserve. Maybe you know of some! Let us know what types of products are your favorite for conserving energy in the modern era!

2.21 Reasons to Purchase LED Lights

I recently moved into a new house, and one of the first things I did was buy Energy Star LED lightbulbs to replace the mixture of incandescent and CFL lightbulbs in the house.

Why?

When you buy LED bulbs in bulk, you can usually get them under $2/bulb (Ex: Philips 60 Watt LED).  I found a 60-Watt incandescent online for $0.41, so the upfront cost difference will be $1.60 that needs to be made up in energy savings. 

Based on Energy.gov’s estimates, the incandescent annual energy cost is about $4.80 whereas the LED is about $1. These are conservative estimates, so depending on your electricity costs and usage, your savings may be more.

Let’s compare these costs:

 Incandescent LED
 Upfront Cost $0.41  $2.00
 Annual Operating Cost $4.80  $1.00
 Total (First Year Cost) $5.21  $3.00

The first year, you net a savings of $2.21/LED lightbulb installed. Now to make LEDs even more appealing, they typically last ~10x longer than Incandescent. This means that it is actually going to cost to $4.10 in replacement costs for the Incandescent, so not only are you saving energy, but you are also saving in the cost of the actual bulbs.

Now look at your house and count the number of incandescent lightbulbs and multiply it by $2.21 for a rough estimate to how much you’ll save per year (not factoring in the replacement savings).

Besides the energy and cost savings, you are also reducing the amount of used lightbulbs in the trash as the Incandescents will burn out faster than LED. Overall this is a win-win-win. Jump over to Amazon today and buy some LEDs so that you can partake in this benefit to the environment and your wallet.

Top 10 Energy Efficient PC Laptops

Going green is a great idea for those who like to save money, or those who want to conserve energy. Regardless, this list of the top 10 energy efficient laptops.

1) Lenovo 80SF

  • Power Consumption: average 11.20 kWh per year
  • Carbon Emissions: averages 11.4 lbs of CO2 year
  • Average yearly running costs are $2.12 – $2.69

2) Acer CB3-431

  • Power Consumption: 12.00 kWh per year
  • Carbon Emissions: 12.2 lbs of CO2 year
  • Average yearly costs are around $2.28 a year

3) Asus UX330C

  • Power Consumption: 12.10 kWh per year
  • Carbon Emissions: 12.3 lbs CO2 year
  • Average yearly costs are around $2.26 –
  • $3.37

4) Lenovo 80MG

  • Power Consumption: 13.40 kWh per year
  • Carbon Emissions: 13.65 lbs CO2 year
  • Average yearly costs are around $2.53 – $2.84

5) Lenovo G50-80

  • Power Consumption: 13.90 kWh per year
  • Carbon Emissions: 14.15 lbs CO2 year
  • Average yearly costs are around $2.66 – $2.88

6) Asus UX390U

  • Power Consumption: 14.10 kWh per year
  • Carbon Emissions: 14.35 lbs CO2 year
  • Average yearly costs are around $2.67 – $2.89

7) Lenovo 80TX

  • Power Consumption: 14.30 kWh per year
  • Carbon Emissions: 14.6 lbs CO2 year
  • Average yearly costs are around $2.82 – $2.91

8) Lenovo 80QN

  • Power Consumption: 14.80 kWh per year
  • Carbon Emissions: 15.1 lbs CO2 per year
  • Average yearly costs are around $2.79 – $3.25

9) Asus P2540U

  • Power Consumption: 14.90 kWh/year
  • Carbon Emissions: 15.2 lbs CO2 year
  • Average yearly costs are around $2.89 – $3.27

10) HP 13-ab

  • Power Consumption: 15.00 kWh/year
  • Carbon Emissions: 15.3 lbs CO2 year
  • Average yearly costs are around $2.85 – $4.60

Is there a laptop that we missed that should be on this list? Add it to our comments below.

Author Background: This post was provided by Carter Razink at PopularReviews.net. PopularReviews.net provides reviews and lists of the best consumer electronics. If you are interested in exploring more review lists, you can check them out here.

5 CES 2016 Companies to Keep Your Eye On

I was able to see and experience a lot of great products while at CES 2016. Here are some of the companies that stood out:

GenZe – I mentioned GenZe in a previous post, but I got a chance to test drive their electric scooter. It was a lot of fun and they definitely developed the scooter to adapt to all types of living conditions. The GenZe recently had a launch event in Oakland which included a welcome speech by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. You can learn more about the cost to charge a GenZe on the WattDoesItUse page. You can buy a GenZe from their website.GenZe Scooter Ride

Tesloop – Tesloop is a city to city chauffeured transportation service using Tesla electric vehicles. Their current routes are between Orange County and Las Vegas, but will soon be expanding to support other southern California cities like San Diego and Palm Springs. This was the first time that I got to ride in a Tesla which was exciting, but it didn’t distract me from the great business model that Tesloop has in place. By using Teslas for their fleet, they get the benefits of free charging which ultimately cuts down on their fuel expense along with laying an infrastructure that in the future can leverage the autonomous driving features that Tesla is continually rolling out. Keep an eye on Tesloop not only for expansion, but also to have Teslas with the most mileage on them. I’m excited to learn more about the long term durability of the Tesla, which would add additional value to buying an electric vehicle. Learn more about the cost to run Electric Cars like the Tesla. You can schedule your next trip on their website.

WakaWaka – WakaWaka, which means Shine Bright in Swahili, sells solar powered LED lights rooted in a mission to provide light to developing countries. A lot of people don’t have easy access to electricity, so they have to use kerosene lamps for light at night. Besides being expensive, kerosene lamps are also dangerous and account for 1.5 million deaths every year1.  When you purchase a WakaWaka light, or Power+ which charges a cell phone in 2 hours, WakaWaka will donate the same device to a developing country to reduce the use of kerosene lamps. The WakaWaka Light and Power+ have been added to the Alternative Energy category on WattDoesItUse.  You can learn more and purchase a WakaWaka on their website.WakaWaka Share the Sun

AMPY MOVE – AMPY MOVE is a battery pack that recharges while you move. It has connectivity with other exercise trackers so that you are encouraged to be active not only for the betterment of your health, but also for your devices. You can purchase an AMPY MOVE on their website.

Ossia Cota – Ossia announced Cota, a wireless charging solution for your electronics. The device sits in your home and can wirelessly charge a device up to 30 feet away. With the announcement of their wireless charging system, they are also announcing AA batteries that you can add to your existing devices so that they can get the benefit of wireless charging. These batteries are different from your typical AA as they have a longer life because of their composition. They don’t need to have a long life between charges since they are always being charged.  The devices are connected to a mobile app where you can see the status of their charging and control how fast they are charged. Hatem Zeine, the CEO of Ossia, talked about the multiple applications where this will be useful with one of the most beneficial for consumers being IoT devices since each sensor requires power and houses are adding 10s if not 100s of these sensors to aid in multiple aspects of life. Once you have the sensors in place, the last thing you want to do is change their batteries which is not only painful but costly financially and to the environment with the battery waste. You can learn more about Ossia Cota and their other products on their website.

CES 2016 was a great event and appreciate all of the time and energy that the Consumer Technology Association put into accommodating press and the vendors. Looking forward to future shows.

Look Up Smart Home Hub Power Consumption

In preparation for CES 2016, I’ve added a new category to WattDoesItUse: Smart Home Hubs. I’ve added a couple of hubs smanos and will be adding more when I attend CES 2016. If you have a company that has a Smart Home Hub, please contact me with the power consumption information so I can add it to my site. 

Looking forward to attending CES 2016 and adding more products to the WattDoesItUse database. 

Look Up Power Consumption For Your Network Switches

Now you can find out with our newly added category: Network Switches. We’ve added hundreds of network switches along with their power consumption so that you can calculate how much they cost to run.

Don’t see a network switch that you own or are interested in? Request it!

New Technology Uses Continuous Power Without Batteries or Charging

The second “r” – reuse – is coming into play big time with new devices from Drayson Technologies. The company reuses radio frequency (RF) transmissions from mobile and wireless networks that are already broadcast around us to power their latest device. This means that low-energy IoT devices could be powered without creating new energy, removing the need for batteries and charging. The first use for this technology, which they’re calling Freevolt, is an air sensor that will crowdsource air pollution tracking.

CertainTeed Apollo II

Currently, IoT devices require batteries and/or charging. While this battery technology has advanced recently, it still is limited by size, time, and requires advanced planning. Rather than using batteries, these new devices leverage the already existing energy that comes from wi-fi, mobile (2G, 3G, 4G, etc.) networks, and digital TV signals and turn in into energy to power themselves.

Harvesting this energy comes with its challenges, including how to employ this energy without disturbing current connectivity, and how to create a device that can tap into the small amount of RF energy available. Right now, this technology is applicable only to low power IoT devices.

Here at WattDoesItUse, we’re excited to see technology using more sustainable energy sources. We’ll keep you posted on where this technology heads in the future. Have you tried the new Freevolt devices? Let us know in the comments below.

New Technology Allows You to Charge Electric Vehicle From Solar-Powered Home

We just added a new feature to your dream home. Pretty soon you’ll be able to charge your electric car directly from your solar-powered home. Princeton Power Systems and NRG eVgo, two major electric charging companies are partnering to create the technology for the Orange County Team’s entrance into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Both companies are donating their time and products to the team which displayed its project at the Great Park in Irvine, CA from Oct 8 – 18.

CertainTeed Apollo II

The technology is brand new, and allows electric vehicles to charge from a home’s solar output. The conversion process reduces power losses by 50% while maximizing efficiency. Plus, the system allows unused power to flow back into the home or into the grid when not needed. Have you added this to your future home’s checklist yet?

Princeton Power Systems has partnered with US Armed Forces to create electric charging systems for the Los Angeles Air Force Base. The systems allow bidirectional charging of vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, meaning that power can flow from the charging system into the vehicle and vice versa. The Leaf’s battery can then be used as an energy backup for the base as needed. With the rapid development speed for electric charging technology, pretty soon this might be a feature for every home, not just your dream one.

What other energy-saving technologies would you like to see in your home? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Wireless Charging for Your Electric Vehicle

I recently discovered the company, Evatran, which makes Plugless, a wireless charging system for electric vehicles.  I got a chance to chat with Steve Cummings, a spokesperson at Evatran, and he gave me some great background on the company and the technology, which you can read below.

How long has this technology been around?

Technically speaking, Nikola Tesla invented the basis for all inductive EV charging when he demonstrated inductive power transfer, wait for it, back in 1894. (As I understand it, he illuminated NYC street lights wirelessly for the demo).  Fast forward to the founding of our company, Evatran, the maker of Plugless. In 2009, we were essentially a spin off from the industrial

electrical transformer company of founder co-founder Tom Hough, the other co-founder is our CEO (and Tom’s daughter)

Rebecca Hough. Our patented technology was tested, refined, and released for a large-scale trial program (we called it our Apollo Program) in 2011. Our trial partners include: Google, Hertz, Bosch, Argonne National Labs, Idaho National Labs, UC Davis, Clemson,

SAP…among others. During the trial, from 2011 to 2013, we tested more than 15,000 charge hours on LEAF and Volt installations across the country. Using that data, we made a few product refinements and began selling Plugless to Volt and LEAF owners in the U.S. and Canada in March of 2014 and later in the year to Cadillac ELR owners.

Has this been deployed in any commercial buildings, or is it more targeted towards consumers?

It has been deployed in a variety of commercial installations – L.A. Department of Public Works, Duke Energy, Clemson University and the City of Raleigh to cite a few. However, we are largely marketing toward and selling to consumers at this point.

What are the barriers to integrating this tech with more EVs?

I can tackle that (great) question in two ways. The first, in terms of EV model to EV model and in terms of Plugless (as opposed to generally speaking, which I tackle below).  Plugless is integrated into the EV to be safe, to maintain all functionality of the EV, to be installed in a way that doesn’t damage the EV (no drilling, cutting or breaking the EV in anyway), and in a way that places the vehicle adapter (receiving coil) where it can be easily and consistently aligned with the power pad (the coil that transmits the energy) all for optimum efficiency. In addition, all of this must be accomplished in a way that keeps the systems affordable and relatively easy to install. Like all technologies that make life simple, “under the hood” there is huge amount of complexity to get it right. Given that each new EV we support represents a tremendous amount of engineering, design, testing, and manufacturing work to bring a safe, easy-to-use, and well priced product to market.

With that being written, we very much look forward to any competition to see how they solve for these things.  That leads to the second way to answer your question – in the sense of for ANY company or OEM, what are the barriers to integrating this tech? We are the only company in this space that has moved from being a technology company into being a product company, and so we have a unique perspective. All Wireless EV Charging (WEVC) companies, when they move from bench models in the lab to production models out in the world, as Evatran has with Plugless, will have to balance safety, vehicle integration, ease of use, power level (read: speed of charging – I.e. 3.3kW, 6.6kW, 10kW etc.), logistics of shipping the units (where weight and size matter), installation of the systems, and efficiency – all against the cost to the consumer. Our sense is that the majority of the market is waiting on a WEVC standard, which will push some of the costs onto the EV manufacturers and, by extension, their customers as optional equipment. We are involved in those discussions, and they are moving along.

Do you intend to integrate with cars like Tesla?

We are months away from selling Plugless for Tesla S models and the BMW i3. Those systems will be 6.6kW systems.

Does weather affect charging time?

Not for the vast majority of conditions. The operating temperatures we list on our tech specs are 0° to 122° F. We know that above or below that range charging might slow down a bit, and as the temperatures get more extreme, stop charging altogether (or not initiate charging). On the cold end of the spectrum, if it begins charging, the warmth of the charging would bring the speed of charging back to normal quickly.

Where can I buy Plugless?

You can go to https://www.pluglesspower.com/shop/ and buy a wireless electric vehical charger for your electric vehicle. If you don’t see your vehicle, you can sign up to be notified when it is available.

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