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While the last several years has seen a great focus on Green IT, primarily as a way of controlling costs, much of the focus has been on the data center. But there are also cost savings opportunities outside the data center which have not been as extensively explored, And thats where Belkin hopes its new product for the commercial market, Belkin Conserve Surge, will find a welcome reception.

Belkin is best known for its consumer products, which are widely available at numerous retail outlets. But the company does have a considerable presence in the commercial space, notably in KVM switches, LCD rack consoles server racks and enclosures, surge protection, digital signage and cables. The commercial market, supported by a partner program, makes up 25 to 30 percent of overall company revenue, with most going through broadline distribution and some through specialty distributors for particular product lines.

Belkin’s new product is essentially an intelligent surge protector, which it thinks can bring real savings to the office.

"Green IT is heavily focused in the data center, and that makes sense with virtualization and cooling issues," said Cliff Unger, senior program manager, Americas region, at Belkin. "But there are some tangible areas outside the data center being overlooked, including powering off and unplugging equipment."

Unger noted that standby power, used mainly when the office is closed, consumes power even when devices are not in use and on standby. He said that some estimates are as high as 50 percent of total energy spend being outside the data center.

"This is the first product in a commercial line to gain control over that standby power," Unger said . Conserve Surge is an 8 outlet surge protector — which has two outlets always on ( likely a PC and a clock, for most users)and 6 switchable. At the beginning of the work day, the employee presses a button which will shut these switchable outlets off in 11 hours (which can be extended if the employee works late).

The energy saving comes both from the elimination of the waste in standby power, and from the fact that some employees will forget to even cut to standby power by turning off their devices manually by the end of the day. Unger said the pricing delta between this type of intelligent surge product and a traditional one is seven dollars, which will be paid back in under a year. He also said their case studies showed that for a company in the Mid Atlantic with 100 seats using one Conserve Surge per seat, the ROI is $1000 a year. For a larger company with 2000 seats, the ROI would be $18,000 per year.

Belkin believes engaging employees, even for the second it takes them to press the button, will encourage them to think about saving energy in the office in other ways as well

The company also thinks that while the market for this kind of device is broad, it may kick in in specific larger verticals to a greater extent.

"It’s universal in any environment, but we believe that higher education, government and large scale corporate environments should lead in adoption," Unger said. This will be even more likely if regulatory pronouncements are implemented requiring energy savings.

Belkin Conserve Surge with Timer (CNS08-T-06) lists for $USD 34.99. The white paper which details the case studies can be viewed at

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