by , 08/13/07

Whole House-Off Swithc, Jack Godfrey Wood, Save Electricity, Save Power

Ever leave the house wondering if you left something on that should’ve been turned off? Wouldn’t you love to be able to power down your house with the touch of one button? That’s the simple notion behind the Whole House-Off Switch by designer Jack Godfrey Wood, a single button that can turn off of the unnecessary power in the house, so as you walk out the door, you can be sure all the TVs, lights, and other appliances you may have left on are safely off and not consuming any electricity.

Simple in concept, the Whole House-Off Switch is a bit more complicated when you stop to consider just how many appliances we have in our homes that require constant power; larger items such as the refrigerators are obvious, but smaller items can include clocks or lights left on automatic timers for security reasons.

The Whole House-Off Switch was designed to make “the green way the most convenient way,” and was part of a larger project to “encourage ‘green’ action among the environmentally disenfranchised.” One thing is for sure, this is one fun switch that you’ll have to stop the kiddos from pushing, and it makes for a fun easy way to make sure we don’t leave the lights on.

+ Whole House Switch

Via Yanko Design

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  1. ross October 23, 2007 at 4:26 am

    There is a Great similar system available at B&Q caled ‘Home Easy’. With a master remote control, anything plugged into Home Easy recievers switches off at the touch of a button. You can aslo control heating and numerous things by SMS text messaging (coming in November)

  2. Kat October 21, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    an ocd sufferer’s dream! and so cute! my dad would probably add years of his life claimed by worry back on if he had a device like this. now, if only they made a whole-house door locker…

  3. Tool world blog wrap 8-... August 30, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    […] modest structures could consider a whole-house off switch. […]

  4. Nik Shah August 21, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Um… to all of you wondering how this could possibly work, I have a similar system, bought from http://www.greenshop.co.uk/, that took me all of two minutes to set up and install. I have plugged all of my home entertainment devices into one plug and all of my phone chargers, laptop chargers etc into another. There is a remote control by the front door that turns all or some of them off when I leave the house. Simple.

  5. We’re Not Wired R... August 17, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    […] need to tear your hair out wondering if you left the iron on ever again. Jack Godfrey Wood’s Whole House-Off Switch is a single button that can turn off of the unnecessary power in the house –lights, tv, […]

  6. Alexander Rozko August 17, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Wouldn’t it be better if we all had smaller residential spaces and less electricity to turn off? But still an innovative product.

  7. Ronald Lindeman August 15, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    What is needed is a Energy Gold Star program to go along with the Energy Star program. This new program would require off switchs on every applience, no extra clocks, the lowest phantom loads.

    Right now, unpluging the TV frequently is hard on the TV. They are designed for being plugged in and on to recieve the signal from the remote. Gold Star program would have a real on/off switch and be designed to be shut completely off.

  8. Chagri Lama August 15, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Hmmm…. Sometimes the most simple solutions only seem simple. In fact, many electrical items in the house we WANT to keep going: freezer, refrigerator, maybe alarm system, maybe garage door opener, some gardening lights, even A/C in some climates, so the hose will not become a raging hell you want to cool down before you can feel you can live in it.

    So just flip the main breaker off is not the best way to go.

    To re-rig the electrical systems in the house and to work through the engineering to make it so you can turn off the stuff you can turn off is hugely expensive and means that you now have to have two kinds of plugs – “stay powered all the time” and the “may be turned off when I leave” kind.

    Sounds like an silly overkill to me.

    I liked the idea proposed by several others here: Just turn off the d…ed lights and electricity-sucking items off when not needed. This society has become so lazy that taking the extra two minutes and walk around the house is “just too too much to bear”! Yikes. And the manufacturers jump of this opportunity to suck out more money out of our pockets in the name of “greening”. How greedy they are and how inane have we become.


    Chagri Lama

  9. eric August 15, 2007 at 12:37 am

    European hotels have had this feature for years

    You stick your keycard into the slot when you enter your room to activate the power. When you leave and take your key, everything shuts off. It also helps you remember where you put the key.

  10. Stefano August 14, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Not cost effective for saving any sigificant amount of energy and impractical because of the great number of devices that require a constant power trickle. If you really want to lower home electrical costs, install a hot water timer switch and programmable thermostat.

    In the future, rollable insulating walls could be designed to seasonally shield glass windows on east and west facing walls and household external misters could be used to greatly cool reduce desert home cooling costs.

    Federal government needs to mandate some standards for low power home delivery of 12v and 5v DC at recepticals throughout the home. The would reduce the large proliferation of external tranformers that is also such a big waste of copper and resources.

    Of course most of those low power devices maybe powered wirelessly in the near future, so the point is almost moot.

  11. Whole House On/Off Swit... August 14, 2007 at 9:31 pm

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  12. nim August 14, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Well, it’s a nice looking button that’s for sure. Trouble is what is behind it?

    Bryce: would not the wall sockets consume power while listening for the radio signal?

  13. Adam August 14, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    I have stayed in a number of hotels where they have a similar concept. After entering the room you place your key card in a slot which allows you to turn on the power. When you leave the room you take your card and the power shuts off after a few minutes. Simple as that, and it forces everyone to participate since you have to take your card when you leave the room.

  14. Lasso August 14, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    I have a whole house on/off switch in my house. It controls the radio, TV, and every light… I’m not sure what’s new here. (Granted, I had to install Insteon light switches in every socket in my house to make this work, and I don’t have such a cute button.)

  15. Electrician August 14, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Um…I have heard of this idea before…its called flipping the BREAKER off….come on people, come to your senses.

  16. kath August 14, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    At first I was going to say; it’s called the main circuit breaker, it turns everything in the house off.

    Seriously though, this probably could be implemented in new houses easy enough. Leave the refrigerator and ac/heat on their own circuits, and then wire one outlet in each room to either be on the “house switch” along with all the lighting. Then plug alarm clocks & such into the regular outlets, but TV’s & radios into the “house-switch” outlets.

  17. Jen August 14, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Must say I *completely* agree with Hun Boon – where’s the responsibility in people these days??

  18. scott August 14, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Low Voltage Relay panels are not that expensive. See Leviton, Wattstopper, LC&D, GE, Douglas, Gentec, Lutron, Crystal… etc.. etc.. etc…

    Most medium to large scale commercial lighting applications are controlled this way.

    A “turn all attached circuits off/on” would be simple. Just mount a a low voltage relay panel beide the breaker pnael and wirre the appopriate circuits thru. Then run a control wiring back to wherever you want a low voltage switch. (Well, hire a licensed electrician to do this of course.)

    Retrofitting might be a pain. Houses are often poorly circuited so there may be some unwanted side effects. (Like the refridgeration being on the kitchen lights circuit. Technically should not happen… but….) This can be worked out but may have some unexpected added costs.

    Doing a new home would be simple. Many who consider this would upgrade to something with more control. Lutron, Lightolier, Crestron, etc, have whole home control systems with astronomical clocks, dimming scenes per room, key chain controls to turn lighting on before your get home, network control/monitoring, etc. That can cost in the tens of thousands, or much more depending on scale, for materials, let alone more complicated control wiring.

    It would be cheaper to overide the whole panel. But certain circuits should not be turned off. (Refridgerator… security system…. the power supply to the relay…)

  19. Robert Johnston August 14, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Here is how I did it.

    When renovating a 45 year old bungalow, all that I had the Electrical Contractor do, was to wire the HVAC, refrigerator, garage door, and security lights to one electrical panel. And, all the other electrical items to a second panel.

    When we leave the home, we simply shut off the one major breaker at the secod panel.

    No wasted ghost powerdraws, or inadvertently leaving items turned on.

    And, yes I did have to cover all those idiot digital clocks with black electrical tape. We use a real clcok.

  20. John August 14, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Good in theory. So what about one’s sump pump, security systems and frozen foods????

  21. Curly August 14, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    So go to the breaker box, and flip the main breaker to off.

  22. psychic readings August 14, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    i like the idea !

  23. Craig August 14, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Most houses i know already have this. It is called the MAIN breaker in the circuit breaker panel.

  24. Eddie B. August 14, 2007 at 10:47 am

    I’ve had a button like this for over 12 years. Using X10 or Insteon you can control just about any electrical appliance in your home. Check out http://www.smarthome.com.

  25. The Whole House-Off Swi... August 14, 2007 at 8:43 am

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  26. Hun Boon August 14, 2007 at 5:15 am

    To be honest, it would take so much effort to configure and make this concept work properly, I’d rather just make sure I switch off all unnecessary electrical appliances before I leave the house..

  27. Scott August 14, 2007 at 4:10 am

    You could do this today using X10.

  28. wendy August 14, 2007 at 12:36 am

    Dammit I seriously had this idea just about a week ago! I was all set for my spot on New Inventors…

    Back to the drawing board… I would never have come up with that cute design though!

  29. Christy Barber August 13, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Hey all…I just found this brand new green and sustainable living concept on the market that was invented in Oregon. It’s called the NW Modern from ideabox and the man who created this home was also the brains behind the e-rated appliances, the predecessor to the Department of Energy’s Engery Star Program.

    Ideabox is sustainable and green in both building materials and construction. It’s the hippest and most resourceful thing I’ve seen since Bluetooth technology! This energy efficient pre-fab home is wrapped up in a cool, modern design that is actually affordable!

    For the environmentally responsible consumer this cabin is cool and sleek. I mean we’re talking living large here in 400 sq. feet of luxury in a clever high end pre-fab home with a very intelligent design.

    The research I’ve done shows that ideabox uses environmentally friendly products and construction with wireless technologies. Designed with the idea that you can live large in a small space, ideabox is attracting very posh customers. And hey…less can be more! My family is considering it for a vacation home on some land at the lake or the beach. Another thought I have is putting it on my property for when the kids come home. Once you’re in college, staying right with mom is tough. This way, they can have space but still be “home”.

    Here is some more information I found on how environmentally friendly ideabox is…

    · Wireless technology because power lines are SO last year.
    · Standing seam metal roofing – sustainable and fire retardant
    · Fiber-cement siding for low maintenance
    · Galvalume corrugated metal siding for an industrial look and efficient construction.
    · Bamboo flooring because it’s sleek and renewable
    · Energy Star appliances and lighting for the best in energy efficiency
    · Marmoleum countertops, made from renewable resources
    · Fully insulated walls for maximum energy efficiency
    · Energy-efficient ENERGY STAR labeled windows to regulate temperature
    · Less than 2% construction waste because materials are ordered to size
    · Low volatile organic compound paints for better, healthier indoor air
    · Duo-flush toilets for water efficiency
    · Day lighting; windows in all exterior walls and interior re-lite strategies
    · Tankless water heaters to reduce electricity use

    I haven’t seen anything like this before! Have any of you? If you want more information about these homes you can visit http://www.ideabox.us.

  30. Bryce August 13, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    There are a number of ways this could be accomplished. The way I would do it would be to create wall sockets with radio transmitter activated relay switches. Then you could set up each one to turn off and on at your discretion. You could even potentially set them up so each sub-socket could be switched off. For example if you have a lamp and an alarm clock plugged into one wall socket, you could work it so that the lamp could be turned off, but not the clock. It would leave all of the in wall wiring intact, and a person could retrofit as many smart sockets as desired to work with the smart switch. Heck, timer functions could even be added to the system much like the intelligent thermostats that are becoming ubiquitous. It could even be taken to another level with wi-fi control from your computer.

  31. David August 13, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    great idea, but want to see how its installed.

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