Saving energy while having fun with tech is something that many have striven for and can probably date back to the fun of solar-powered calculators.

The store Grassroots has some great gift ideas that are both environmentally friendly and just SO MUCH FUN for those that are technologically inclined, as well as for everyone else on your list too! Are you in need of unique, never-saw-it-coming stocking stuffers? Ya know the kind. The ones where your kids go, “Oh, COOL! Wait until, … sees this!”, and your significant other will choose either, “Where'd you get this?” or “No dear, you look beat, let me go check the oven!”

Okay, so it might take a bit more to get that latter exclamation flowing, but one can dream.

Anyway, you don't have to believe me on how awesome Grassroots gifts are, just take a look for yourself!

Now tell me these wouldn't make your loved-one's stocking the shiznit:

Thanks to Grassroots, I actually got the chance to play with the Kill A Watt. Maple Leaf Mommy, Shair from The Knit Wit, and Multi-Testing Mommy were probably rolling their eyes and/or laughing their butts off when I got so excited about the chance of being able to create a pie chart out of the results.

YES, A PIE CHART! WOOT! I wasn't particular in making them at school, but then again, the subject of “How many apples over oranges did I have in the fruit bowl?” wasn't as exciting as compared to, “How can I reduce my energy bill?!”

You mean I can have my fun AND save money and energy and the ozone layer all at the same time??

*cough* This could be like the new Wii in FUN. 😉

So, yes, when I learned that I was going to get to run around the house and find out how much juice each and every little gadget chugs every time I plug it into the wall and turn it on… I got a wee bit excited. It was like Christmas.

And your techie just might get the same type of excitement too.

Some may consider it strange. We geeks like to think of it as exploring new frontiers. The cool factor lies in the ability to discover how much power certain electronics take in order to work. It's just one more way to discover how the world around us ticks.

Take a look at my incomplete chart so far:

The fridge I can understand, but my desktop?? Okay… I can sorta understand that one. Even though it boasts the Energy Star sticker right up front…. It's big. An all-in-one monitor/desktop with a touchscreen. But I had to come to terms with the fact that it was an energy eater. Plus-sized even.

So do you want to meet my new pet? (the snitch that ratted out on my desktop, aka Dean?)

Say hello to my leetle friend EZ-P3-PO.

This little buddy is easy to set and manage. You get the benefit of being able to enter in how much you're charged for a kW/h, so I based my results on the our peak rate of 10.7 cents.

The plug itself fits most male inputs, though the power bar that holds my desktop and computer accessories did not fit at all. Meaning I was only able to test out my desktop on it's own, without also being able to test the printer, usb/phone charger and external hard drive, at the same time. It would have been nice to test the “packaged deal”, but instead I'll just have to test each peripheral on it's own.

If I could change one thing on the Kill A Watt, it would be the lack of an LED backlight display, as its currently hard to read the settings while its in use. Essentially you're looking at black font on a dark grey background, which is not easy to read without being only inches away from the small screen.

To fix this, there is an option that once your done measuring an item, you can remove the Kill A Watt and re-activate it in another outlet source, without losing data. For my home though, most of the outlets are closer to the floor, and the ones that are at a higher level, are out of reach (like behind the fridge.)

Another plus for the Kill A Watt though, is that it doesn't affect your use of your electronics while your taking measurement. I got to watch TV as part of this assignment, and there wasn't any disturbance at all to the picture quality on either the CRT or HDTV. Which means that all energy flows right through the Kill A Watt, as it's measured, and into your system with ease!

When checking out how much juice an electronic device chugs down, it's best to leave the Kill A Watt plugged in for as long as possible. Like a day, or at the very least half of one.

Room for Error

So here are the beginnings of my pie chart! 😀 It'll be expanded once I have the rest of the house documented. You should let the Kill-A-Watt run for at least a day to get an accurate reading on how much power is used on any given day. For instance, I didn't get a chance to take a full reading on my desktop computer. So I'm crossing my fingers that when I go back to get a better reading of it, the total price will drop by $10. *fingers crossed*

The current reading for my desktop suggests that I keep my computer on all day and all night… which isn't too far from the truth. Unfortunately my desktop has been known to run three days straight (mostly on sleep mode) if I have a particular project running.

Perhaps I just found my New Year's Resolution. I'll resolve to turn my computer off more often, and help save an extra $20 off next year's energy bill (at an annual rate.)

And if you were wondering ('cause I know at least one of you were); my touchscreen Dean has a little brother named Sammy (my Samsung smartphone, heh), and they have a distant relative known as Winchester (my HP tablet, lol.)

*cough* Supernatural reference *cough*


$100 Grassroots Gift Certificate
– not good for in store purchases, must be used online
– can not be applied towards shipping or taxes, you must pay for shipping and taxes on the items you purchase with this gift card
– this gift card can't be used in conjunction with any other offer (such as sales, promos or free shipping)

Are you ready to WIN?! Here's how it works… This post is one of four that you'll need to read in order to collect the secret phrase to win. I've partnered up with the awesome bloggers: Maple Leaf Mommy, Multi-Testing Mommy and The Knit Wit by Shair for some group blogging fun! Click on each link to get to their blog posts to find the remaining three secret words you'll need to enter to win! You'll also find some great gift ideas to make this giving season unique!

Here's the secret phrase you'll need to fill in accurately to win:

“Grass Roots Gift Guide Features items that fit into the categories: ____, _____, energy efficient and _____.” So go check out the other three blogs to find the other three correct terms to enter to win.

Please note: this post has been compensated as part of a review, but all words and opinions are MY OWN. Please be advised that although I do accept work ('cause I need to make a living,) and discuss the results of that work on this blog, I am in no way offering you, my valuable readers, lemons… unless it'll be used for drinking. Bottom line: if I don't believe in it, you won't see it here.