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In this climate of increasingly expensive energy, who isn’t looking for a few shortcuts to savings? Some products promise a lot more than they can deliver though.
When we tested the Reegen Micro-Plug power saving device in 2009, we found it didn’t save you any energy, but this hasn’t stopped others from trying to sell these devices.
The Go4Green EnergySmart device claims to save up to 10% of the energy used in your house. It claims to save you money by improving power factor and reducing harmonics - technical terms referring to electrical power elements. At $299 a pop, it states that it will pay for itself within approximately six months.
We hooked up a variety of motor-driven devices, such as a vacuum cleaner, a drill, a grinder and a pump. We recorded the power use without the device first, then with it plugged in. We found there were negligible savings, and in some cases it cost us marginally more.
We asked the Go4Green EnergySmart company how this could be so and they supplied us with the testing results summary by an independent third-party company and testimonials – though they were not surprised as their claims relate to a whole house scenario rather than individual appliances.
We then measured the energy usage of a dryer, washer, air conditioner and a variety of smaller appliances in a house. We plugged in the device as per the instructions and ran the appliances again on the same programs. Our testing found negligible changes in energy consumption. While we did see some changes in power factor and harmonics, these elements are not taken into account on your electricity bill so won’t save you money.
We approached leading Australian electrical engineer Professor Vic Gosbell of the University of Wollongong, and he also confirmed that a device like this will have little impact on your electricity bill. We also had an expert value the device at just over $15 for materials.
Other plug-in products claiming a reduction in your energy bill have recently been pulled up by the ACCC, requiring corrections by the distributor. We’ve sent our results for the Go4Green to the ACCC asking for similar action.
All our tests result in little proof to back up the Go4Green EnergySmart’s claims. Claims of improving power factor and reducing harmonic currents are irrelevant as Australian energy bills don’t take these influences into consideration. Go4Green have since claimed that they are no longer in business, though we were still able to purchase their device through a group buying site soon after they told us this.