Last-minute gift guide, for the energy nerd in all of us!

Around this time of year, I’m usually on the naughty list–the one my wife keeps. That’s because I’m still rushing to get that one last gift for the family member who has everything.

For all those last-minute shoppers, we’ve put together a guide to energy-related gifts that save money, and make you think.

The Nest ThermostatNest_blog
Price: $249
Available At: nest.com, Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s
What It Does: Automatically adapts to your schedule, adjusting your home’s temperature to maximize comfort and minimize energy bills. A smartphone
application is available allowing you to track energy usage and control your home’s temperature while you’re away.
Benefits: Reduces your heating and cooling bills by
up to 20 percent. Energy Information Administration
data shows that heating and cooling account
for more than half of a typical Illinois home’s energy
usage.

LED light bulbsLED
Price: $10 on up
Available At: Online, and in most hardware and big-box stores
What It Does: Lights up your home for less. LEDs, or light-emitt ing diodes, are the longest lasting light bulbs on the market, and save even more money than their cousin, the Compact Fluorescent Light bulb (CFL). LEDs are fully dimmable, can be used in a variety of sockets, and come in just about every shade of light.
Benefits: Save up to $100 over each bulb’s lifetime, which can be more than a decade.

Home Energy Audit
Price: $49 to $500
Available At: Find a certified home energy rater near you, at:
www.resnet.us. Some utilities, like Nicor and Ameren, offer discounts
on home energy audits. Find out what incentives your utility offers at
www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
What It Does: A certified home energy expert will inspect your home and provide you with a detailed report pinpointing repairs that will make
your home more comfortable and less costly. The auditor may also make basic, no-cost home improvements, if you choose, like installing energy
efficient light bulbs, low-flow showerheads, and faucet aerators. Assessments take approximately two and a half hours.
Benefits: Potentially save thousands of dollars in energy costs over a lifetime, while making your home more comfortable.

Smart Power StripPowerStrip_blog
Price: $20 to $40
Available At: Online, and in most hardware and big-box stores
What It Does: Automatically cuts off power to devices not in use.
Benefits: Reduces “vampire power,” which can suck up to 20 percent of your home’s electricity usage. Learn how to use a smart power strip by watching CUB’s 1-minute video on YouTube: www.YouTube.com/cubillinois.

Belkin Conserve Valet Smart USB Charging StationBelkinChargingStation_blog
Price: $40
Available At: belkin.com, eBay, Best Buy, Amazon
What It Does: Charges up to four mobile devices,
automatically shutting off power when a full charge is reached. (Note: Devices must have a USB port in order to charge.)
Benefits: Reduces charging-related electricity costs—and clutter.

Genius DX-ECO Battery-Free Blue Eye MouseBlueEyeMouse_blog
Price: $50
Available At: geniusnet.com, eBay, Best Buy, and Amazon
What It Does: Plugs into your computer’s USB port and reaches a full charge in just three minutes. Then you can surf the web without a battery or a cord.
Benefits: Saves the money—and the hassle—spent buying replacement batteries for your wireless mouse.

Solar Laptop ChargerSolarLaptopCharger_blog
Price: $100 to $1,000
Available At: Amazon, eBay, REI
What It Does: Charges your laptop using the sun’s rays.
Benefits: Outdoor enthusiasts and campers can charge their laptops—even if the nearest outlet is 100 miles away. Reduces your electric bill at home, and keeps your electronic devices running when no outlet is available.

Evolve Shower HeadShowerHead_blog
Price: $30 to $45
Available At: evolveshowerheads.com, AmazoneBay, and Home Depot
What It Does: Automatically shuts off water flow when the temperature reaches a comfortable 95 degrees. When you’re ready, simply pull the cord and begin your shower.
Benefits: You can leave the room while waiting for the shower to warm up, knowing that hot water will be waiting—not wasting—when you’re ready to hop in. Save up to 2,700 gallons of water and $75 a year.

Eco ButtonEcoButton_blog
Price: $20
Available At: ecobutton.com, Amazon, eBay
What It Does: Makes the simple task of setting your computer on “standby” mode even simpler. Users simply press a button—which looks a little like a computer mouse—and the computer automatically goes into a low-power mode while you’re away.
Benefits: Savings can add up, especially for those with multiple computers at home.

Kill A WattKill A Watt
Price: $25 to $40
Available At: p3international.com, AmazoneBay, and in most hardware stores
What It Does: Plugs in between your appliance and the outlet, and tells you immediately how much energy it’s using. You can also calculate electricity expenses by the day, week, month or year.
Benefits: Find out if your energy efficient refrigerator or other appliance is actually delivering on the savings it promised.

Meter Plug
Price: $50
Available At: meterplug.com (Available in March, pre-order only)MeterPlug_blog
What It Does: Plugs in between your appliance and the outlet, and sends information about how much energy your appliance is using straight to an app on your smartphone.
Benefits: Eliminate vampire power and program devices to automatically shut off when they reach a monthly usage limit you set.

LED holiday lightsHolidayLEDs_blog
Price: $5 to $30
Available At: Online, and in most hardware and big-box stores
What It Does: Lights up your home, both indoors and out, for less.
Benefits: CUBenergysaver.com estimates that replacing five 100-bulb strings of conventional holiday lights with LEDs can save $13 in electricity costs over the course of the season.

Bonus Idea: A CUB membership!CUB_LOGO_BLUE_web3
Price: $10 a year on up
Available At: www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org or 1-800-669-5556.
What It Does: Makes you a member of Illinois’ premier consumer advocacy organization.
Benefits: Join the fight for lower utility bills! You’ll also receive our quarterly paper newsletter, The
CUB Voice.

About Jim Chilsen

Jim is director of communications for the Citizens Utility Board (CUB)
This entry was posted in Electric bills, Energy, Saving Money and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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