Getting halfway to work and suddenly wondering if you remember to unplug the iron is an awful feeling. Not as awful as not thinking about it and unintentionally starting a fire, though. Both of these moments could be avoided with a concept called the Off Door Handle. Designed by Ean-ah Kim, Jin Hyuk Rho and Maria Rho and winner of a 2011 Red Dot award, it is a door handle that integrates switches for your electricity and gas, allowing you to turn these services off as you are leaving the house each day.
There are some practical problems involved with using this type of system in the U.S. (particularly in cold climates where turning the electricity off in winter would mean coming home to frozen pipes), but the idea is actually very clever. Rather than putting notes all around the house or nagging your spouse half to death to turn things off, whoever leaves the house last can just take care of it.
We would love to see the handle paired with specific outlets in the house so that only the outlets where dangerous or energy-sucking gadgets are plugged in would be switched off every morning. Then when you come home, your stereo and computer can come back to life and get ready to entertain you.
The handle works with a small dial and on/off button on the end. The user would twist the dial to the appropriate setting – gas, electricity or both – to determine what should be cut off. Then a press of the power button ensures that the selected services are off and the resident can go about his or her day without worrying about the state of things at home.