Bye, Bye, Standby – Product Review

Bye, Bye, Standby

Can we really afford to Standby?


• The average household wastes around £37 each year by leaving appliances on standby – across the UK this is equivalent to the annual output of about 2½ 700MW power stations!

• Households in the UK now waste around 10% of their electricity bill on standby power.

• The average household has up to 12 gadgets left on standby or charging at any one time.

Source: Energy Saving Trust

Switch appliances off at the wall… we all could do it, but what proportion of people actually do, and what impact does this simple oversight have on the world we live in? Also, who wants to crawls about under the desk at the end of the working day or at home to get to the sockets to turn off the PC, the printer, the scanner, etc. and, to a degree, the same is true with the TV, Hi-Fi, etc. Often the sockets are actually behind the very units that house the appliances. The Energy Saving Trust’s “Habits of Lifetime” survey concludes that 71% of householders admit to leaving appliances on standby. Surely in a world of climate change we all have a social responsibility to do the best to protect our environment and the world we live in for our children?

Domia has created a product that is both simple and affordable for consumers.

Bye Bye Standby is a brand new energy saving and cost cutting solution designed for both home and office use. A clever combination of smart sockets and a wireless remote control enables users to cut power to any appliance consuming energy in standby mode at the simple touch of a button.

An independent test confirms that a family of four using three Bye Bye Standby devices could save around £38 per annum (the price of this kit, if I understand that correctly) – a result directly in line with the claim made by the Energy Saving Trust. Furthermore, if the majority of UK households were to adopt this energy saving kit, then we could save around 8.4 TWh of energy (about half the potential output power of a coal-fired power station).

E2 Energy Solutions Expo 2007 at Olympia saw the launch of the Bye, Bye, Standby Office Energy Savings Kit”.

This is, basically the upgrade, so to speak, from the “Bye, Bye, Standby Energy Savings Kit” for the home environment, which has been on the market now for a little while already.

While the domestic kit come with just three plug in devices and a small remote control the office version comes with four devices and both the remote and the plug in devices are a little meatier than the domestic units.

During my visit to the show and the stand of “ Bye, Bye, Standby/Domia Ltd.” I was kindly given (my thanks to Judy Wakelin for providing the kit) a domestic version of the kit which is good enough for the purpose of the review and for continued use in my small home office.

The installation, is one can call it thus, just could not have been more simple. The little socket device gets plugged into the mains outlet (or into a power strip as I have done) and you can then control, using a power strip, safely, up to four devices, e.g. Monitor, TV, scanner, printer, etc.
I must admit that I have plugged a strip into the device with six devices connected and that too works well (though I would not recommend that to the amateur). The power rating is 4 amps and scanner, powered USB hub, monitor (LCD), external DVD burner, speakers and external hard disc drive, I doubt, will ever get anywhere near that kind of load of 4 amps.
Up to now, I have to confess, those devices, with the exception of the external hard drive, always remained on, and all remained on at their power supplies. The scanner could not ever be turned off physically as it has not even got a power on/off switch. Silly construction, I know. We must never forget that any power supply (mains adaptor) when left plugged into a mains outlet uses power, and nearly as much as it the units themselves were running. They also tend to get very hot.

As said, fixing them was child's play and so is using them. With devices like these available – OK, they are not cheap – you have now no excuse for leaving things unnecessarily switched on. The kit will pay for itself in a least a year, I am sure, through the saving you make in electricity costs. And not only that. You are helping the environment too.

There is but one problem with the green credentials of this gadget and that is the blister packaging that it comes in, aside from the fact that it is a struggle to get into the packaging, as it appears to be of the usual kind of plastic this stuff is made from which, as far as I am led to believe by the waste managers of several Councils, is non-recyclable. Would it, therefore, not be better to package the product in a box made from post-consumer recycled cardboard, which breaks down in the soil, making it thereby home compostable? We have far too much of this kind of packaging around as it goes and especially for a product that is designed to help reduce one's carbon footprint environmentally friendly packaging, I think, should be a must.

Now, what's stopping you from doing your part to cut down your electricity consumption? Go out and get a kit or two and make your home more energy efficient in this way.

© M V Smith, October 2007