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August is the new September. When we were kids, we had the whole month - all the way through Labor Day - before going back to school. Now? It’s already time to get serious about back to school shopping (with an energy efficiency twist) even though you’re probably still wearing your shorts and tee-shirts.

August is also widely recognized as the best month to buy the most expensive school supply – computers. Laptops, which virtually all high school and college students need these days, are normally on sale this month with fierce competition among manufacturers and retailers.

While computers are a mainstay of back-to-school supplies, they’re also commonplace in most homes and offices. Statistics show many people work from home at least one day per week. While working from home saves energy and time by cutting out the commute, it may increase your home energy bills unless you use energy-saving office equipment.

The easiest way to cut the energy used by home electronics is to shut down and unplug them when not in use. A power strip is a quick way to cut power to all devices without having to unplug each one separately. Because home office equipment, chargers and some appliances continue to draw a small amount of electricity even when they’re switched off, completely disconnecting them when not in use will help to eliminate the "vampire" power they consume.

Replacing your conventional power strips with advanced power strips  is a great way to reduce wasted electricity and, in turn, save on energy costs. Advanced power strips prevent electronics from drawing power when you aren’t using them.

As back-to-school sales abound, if you’re looking for the true bargain when shopping for electronic essentials, consider shopping for an energy efficient ENERGY STAR certified computer.  That way, you’ll be receiving even more savings over standard models including laptops and desktops.  The federal requirements for computers earning the ENERGY STAR are even tougher now and, overall, ENERGY STAR-labeled office products use about half the electricity of standard equipment. 

This time of a year is also a great time to schedule a no-cost Mass Save Home Energy Assessment—while your still using air conditioning and well before the first frost!  You’ll receive a custom report that makes it easy for you to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Plus, energy-saving products will be installed at no cost as needed, including advanced power strips and ENERGY STAR LED light bulbs to save even more energy.

While shopping the sales for back-to-school supplies, choosing energy efficient products saves money and helps protect our planet. Now that’s true savings!