Smart Technology for a More Sustainable Home
Recycling, taking quick showers, using LED light bulbs—there are plenty of easy, effective ways to live green. But these days, new technology is taking sustainable living a step further. For example, the “Internet of Things” (IoT), or device networks that gather and exchange data on human interaction with internet-connected devices, is also being implemented to regulate and optimize energy consumption, making eco-friendly living easier than ever. Below is a roundup of the best smart devices on the market to make your home as sustainable as possible.
Heating and cooling air temperature accounts for almost 50 percent of energy consumption in the average American home.¹ As such, intuitive thermostats are must-haves when it comes to saving money and increasing the efficiency of your home’s HVAC system. In addition to self-programming technology, which allows you to schedule when the heating and air turns on and off, many intuitive thermostats automatically adjust room temperature for maximum efficiency, so you don’t have to.
Water consumption is another biggie—the average American uses anywhere between 80 and 100 gallons of water every day.² There is a range of devices that can be attached to your main water supply line to detect leaks and send alerts to your smart phone as soon as they crop up.³ Though much more expensive than traditional water heaters, smart water heaters can do the same and also optimize energy consumption by collecting data about your daily water habits and regulating water temperature accordingly. 4
Even though most U.S. homes have made the switch to energy-efficient bulbs, lighting still accounts for nearly 10 percent of total residential energy consumption.5 Automated lighting systems eliminate the need to manually turn off light switches morning and night. Instead, smart systems allow you to schedule when lights are used, allowing you to adjust brightness and even set the mood by changing light color.
Automated irrigation systems
According to the EPA, up to half the water used to water lawns is wasted and unnecessary.6 Investing in an intelligent sprinkler system can curb water waste by monitoring the weather (i.e. when it’s going to rain) and gauging soil moisture. The result? An immaculately kept lawn that saves hundreds of gallons of water each year. In fact, one prominent smart sprinkler brand boasts that it saved roughly 126 million gallons of water in the first year of its launch.7
Smart power strips
Plugged-in devices can still drain power, even when they’re turned off. Forget the daily hassle of unplugging and plugging in commonly used devices to save energy. Smart power strips regulate energy flow by automatically sensing when to shut off electrical currents completely.
Monitors that attach to your home’s electrical breaker box connect to your smartphone to tell you exactly which appliances and devices use the most energy, including big-time consumers like washers and dryers. Identifying energy hogs can inspire behavioral changes like buying more energy-efficient devices and using power strips.
Monitors for air quality
Excess energy consumption isn’t the only thing to keep an eye on when going green. According to the EPA, indoor air quality can be up to five times worse than that outdoors. And considering that most Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, installing an air quality monitor is key to the health and wellness of your space.8 Look for a monitor that measures levels of VOC chemicals, dust, carbon monoxide, temperature and humidity levels to accurately assess air quality. Some products will even send you personalized tips on how to improve air quality in response to the types of pollutants in your home.9
Most all green devices can be controlled through a smart hub or control center like Alexa or Google Home. If you have more than one device that requires regular monitoring, a smart hub will save you time by allowing you to manage multiple automation processes and check your consumption habits all at once.
While using eco-friendly technology isn’t a substitute for practicing other green behaviors (i.e. composting, choosing sustainable building materials, avoiding pesticides, etc.), using devices like the ones above will reduce your carbon footprint, increase the health of your home and save you even more money in the long run. And there’s really no arguing with that!
1, 5, 6. https://elemental.green/10-amazing-products-for-eco-friendly-home-automation/