March Energy Saving Madness!

As the country switches to basketball fever and the days get longer – how about teaming up with Savenia Labs to take a few shots at saving money on energy during March Madness?

Savenia Labs challenges you to our version of the Big Dance. Can you make it to the Sweet Sixteen or a National Championship? Dance your way through each round. The farther you go – the more money you keep in your pocket and out of the electric bill. As the tournament progresses, check back here to see if you advance to the next round.

National Champion

Save $2,200 – MVP!  Make Your Own Energy – Cut your entire utility bill by installing your own solar, wind, or geothermal energy system. Check in to tax incentives and grant programs through your local utility or county; in Montgomery County check MyGreenMontgomery for more information.

Championship Game

Save $450 – Triple Double!  Use Savenia Labs Energy Ratings to Buy Energy Efficient Appliances – Save up to $450 in energy over the lifetime of a coffeemaker.  You can find Savenia Labs Energy Ratings at participating stores here.

Final 4

Save $300 – 3 Pointer! Shop around for lower energy prices.  In Montgomery County you can save money AND switch to cleaner wind energy suppliers like Clean Currents.  Savenia Labs uses Clean Currents wind power for our operations, and so does Strosniders True Value Hardware – the best place to buy Savenia Labs Energy Rated Appliances.

Elite 8

Save $200 – Jump Shot!  Air Seal and Insulate your Home – Act on your Energy Audit and turn your house into an Energy Efficient Superstar to save over $200 per year.  You can buy lots of supplies at Strosniders True Value Hardware, and while there have a look at Savenia Labs Energy Rated toaster ovens to heat the pizza without heating up the house in the summer.

Sweet 16

Save $$$ – Get an easy assist.  Complete an Energy Audit of Your Home – Find out where your home is leaking money and where you can save.  The cost is often covered by your local utility or county.  Check or your local county for more information.  You can buy caulking, insulation and other things including Savenia Labs Energy Rated appliances at Strosniders True Value Hardware.

Round of 32

Save $150 – Here’s a free throw.  Slay the Vampire – Eliminate the energy usage that’s not doing anything for you and save $100-$200 per year.  Unplug your DVR and wide screen TVs when you go to bed, or buy a shut off timer.  You can find these at Strosniders True Value Hardware.  Check out the selection of Savenia Labs Energy Rated coffeemakers without clocks, or fully loaded models with low energy usage.

Round of 64

Save $50 – This is a layup. Upgrade one incandescent bulb to a Compact Fluorescent Light bulb. The math is pretty simple – bulbs last 8x longer, use less energy and many are covered by a 2-year manufacturer warranty. You can get them at Strosniders True Value Hardware. While you’re there, check out the selection of Savenia Labs Energy Rated small appliances and magnify your savings!

Video Blog: Our First Contest Winner, Deborah The Vampire Power Slayer

Congratulations to our first contest winner Deborah who came closest to guessing that there is a 400% difference in the vampire power usage between the best and worst performing microwaves among the top 20 most popular sold in the United States.  For her winning entry, Deborah has taken home a new microwave, which she said she will give to one of her college age children.

Continue to keep an eye on our Contest homepage for more interesting research coming out of our labs and for a chance to win a Savenia Labs rated appliance.  Who knows, the next winner could be you!

Announcing Our First Winner!

A Savenia Labs Rated GE Microwave for our winner

A Savenia Labs Rated GE Microwave for our winner

Savenia Labs is proud to announce the first winner of our Vampire Power Contest.  We asked if you could guess the difference in vampire power usage between the best and worst microwaves on the market in the US (among the top 20 most popular).  Guesses were all over the place – from as low as a few percent up to our winner’s guess of 72%.  And even that was quite short.  The actual answer?  A whopping 433%.

We reported a few weeks ago that the clock on your microwave could cost you $30 over the microwave’s lifetime.  By purchasing an energy efficient microwave you could cut that bill substantially.  Added together with all your household appliances, vampire energy costs the average Marylander almost $200 per year.  Make sure you check Savenia Labs’ Energy Ratings, available this fall, before you buy to know which microwaves and other appliances help you save money.

When our contest winner picks up her Savenia Labs rated microwave, we’ll tell you a little more about her.  We thank everyone who entered this week’s contest and hope you’ll all enter next week for a chance to win another Savenia Labs rated appliance.

How Not To Waste $185

$185 per year.  That’s the price tag every Maryland household pays each year to power their electronics when not in use.  Now a new tech startup in Montgomery County is helping tackle the problem.  Savenia Labs tests household electronics and provides information on each model’s energy usage – helping individuals and businesses cut back on their energy usage.

Leading up to their Fall 2011 launch, Savenia Labs is giving away a free Energy Rated appliance every week.  Learn how you can save money and energy by making smart shopping decisions on

Tick Tock Vampire Clock

We all know the digital displays and clocks on your small appliances cost money to run, so how do you shut them off? We laboratory tested microwave ovens to find out. The only tip that we guarantee works on every product is to remove the power source. See our blog post on Top Four Ways to Reduce Vampire Power for some simple ways to do this. But are there other ways?

We found that on some models, unplugging the unit and then plugging it in again and not setting the clock resulted in either a blank screen or flashing dots, on some models a single zero appears and there are other variations. Each number in a digital clock is made up of light segments, so each number uses a different amount of electricity – a “0” has six segments and a “1” has just two. Lighting up each segment requires more power, so the less lights you have on your clock screen, the better. If after you re-set your appliance, it flashes “00:00” continuously or streams “PLEASE SET CLOCK” continuously then you are likely using more power than with the clock alone. Wouldn’t it be great if small appliances could be shipped with the clock off, and you could turn them on if you needed another clock in your kitchen? Our calculations show that if all the microwaves Americans will buy this year come with clocks turned off, a coal fired powered plant can be taken off the grid every 3 years.

Savenia Labs launches Vampire Power Contest

Giving Away 1 Lab Tested Appliance per week to Montgomery county residents

To countdown to our upcoming launch Savenia Labs is giving away a free Energy Rated appliance every week.  To win a free microwave, toaster oven, or coffeemaker, like us on Facebook and enter there.  At the end of each week we will announce a winner who can pick up his or her prize at the Bethesda Green office in Montgomery County, MD.

In the first week, win by coming closest to your guess of the percentage difference in energy usage between the most and least energy hungry microwaves among the top 20 sold in the US.

Top Four Ways to Reduce Vampire Power

As temperatures in the DC region edged above 100 degrees and most residents cranked up their air conditioners, many feared the energy bill to come at the end of the month. How can you keep your energy bill down to manageable levels?

One easy way is to limit the amount of energy you waste powering appliances you’re not even using.  True Blood has vampires, but your kitchen has vampire power.  Vampire power is the power that appliances use when in standby mode – think of the clock on your microwave.  As the New York Times has reported, standby power drives the power usage of certain home appliances – for example, DVR set top boxes consume more energy than an entire Energy Star refrigerator.

So what can you do about it?  Here’s our list of the top four things you can do to kill the vampire in your home:

  1. Buy appliances with low standby power energy demand
  2. Put large appliances on smart strips
  3. Put occasionally used appliances on power strips and turn them off when not in use
  4. Install a kill switch in your house

Continue reading

Would you pay $30 for the clock on your microwave oven?

New ‘vampire power’ research from Savenia Labs helps consumers save energy and money.

New research shows that the most energy hungry microwaves on the market today cost as much as $30 to run when not in use – in large part due to the clock.  These surprising early results were found after testing the top 20 microwave ovens sold in the United States at Savenia Labs, a University of MD Clark School of Engineering partner company in Bethesda, MD. ‘Vampire power’ also known as standby power was shown to consume more than 1/5th of a microwave’s total energy consumption over its lifetime.

When added to other appliances and electronics in your house, vampire power costs can add up to almost $200 per year for Maryland residents.

Savenia Labs recommends users choose a more efficient unit when possible and will be releasing energy ratings in Fall 2011 to help individuals and businesses make informed shopping decisions.  For those who don’t need a new unit now, we offer this advice:

  • Unplug your microwave and when you plug it back in, don’t set the clock.  Testing shows this can cut vampire power use by 50% in some units.
  • Unplug your small appliances when you go on vacation, or when not in use.
  • Use a smart strip to make it easy to power off your small appliances and home electronics when not in use.
For more information “Straight from the Lab”,  money saving tips and a chance to win free appliances, follow Savenia Labs on Facebook, Twitter, or blog posts at