Saving electricity and water is challenging. However, now there are several devices on the market that help. Here are some cool possibilities to upgrade your green home, including budget-friendly options, to help you save money.
The typical light bulb needs improvement. However, the biggest energy-saving advancements are in LED light bulbs. LED bulbs consume up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs. In addition, they live up to 25 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
LEDs save energy on par with CFLs. However, they now come with “smart” capabilities that help you save even more by using less light. Its brightness adjusts depending on the time of day or the room's brightness.
In addition, they have the ability to change based on whether or not someone is home. Its creators claim it learns users' habits and adapts to them. The Philips Hue is a similar LED lamp. An app also controls it. It's even possible to send an SMS to turn off your lights!
Instead of smart bulbs, you have the option to choose motion sensors or smart light switches that operate with both CFLs and LEDs. Belkin WeMo offers both choices and lets you control your lights via an app. Lights are controlled by setting timers or by using Siri on your iPhone to turn them off.
Nationally, only 6% of residential energy is used for air conditioning. 40% is used for space heating. However, this varies greatly by region. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in Arizona, 25% of energy is utilized for cooling and just 15% for heating.
The Nest Thermostat is the #1 best-selling thermostat on Amazon. In addition, it has rave reviews on CNET. The thermostat learns your behaviors. It allows you to adjust it remotely via smartphone or computer. In addition, it tracks your energy use. The Environmental Defense Fund deemed Nest “promising.” Furthermore, it noted that it reduces peak energy use while saving money.
Aros Smart AC Quirky+GE is ideal for those without central air. This window air conditioner is controlled remotely via an app, just like the thermostat. Tado sells products that turn your “dumb” air conditioner or heating system into a smart one. Both Tado and Aros let you control your system from your phone while you're away.
Some equipment in your home requires energy continuously. For example, plugged-in TVs, DVD players, and gaming consoles use power even when not being used. Additionally, computers and other devices do the same.
Smart power strips cut off energy to these “energy vampires” while not in use. This reduces energy loss.
Simple alternatives include timers, motion sensors, and remote controllers. In addition, there are power strips that disconnect power. They cut off power to your cable box, gaming console, and DVD player when, for example, the TV is switched off. Some unplug the power when all plugged-in devices are turned off. This prevents standby power consumption.
In addition, it's possible to use a smartphone to regulate outlets. For example, the Belkin WeMo Insight outlet enables you to turn off devices, track energy use, create alerts, and more.
We've discussed energy conservation. Now let's think about water. Showers use only 16% of home water. However, they are something we use daily.
Many digital advances have focused on saving water and time in the shower. For example, some have a showerhead that changes color after a while. In user testing, it reduced shower time by 13%.
The Oxiget aerating showerhead, for example, cuts water use by half without affecting water pressure. The Evolve showerhead or adapter stops running water as soon as it gets hot. This saves water.
Install a water-flow restrictor in your shower if you don't already have one. This reduces the flow of water from your showerhead. In addition, conserve water and energy by installing WaterSense showerheads and WaterSense aerators on your faucets.
When it comes to enhancing your green home, knowledge is power. These apps, while not strictly gadgets, help you make more eco-friendly choices.
An electricity tracking app helps you track your energy usage. It pulls data from your utility bill or directly from your utility company. Others apps like WattBuddy and Kill-Ur-Watts do this as well. However some only function with specific utilities. Therefore, see if your local utility has an app or interacts with one.
In addition, tracking your consumption reveals things about your energy use that maybe you did not know.
In addition, use an app like GoodGuide or Ethical Barcode to make greener purchases. These apps collect company data to help you determine which items are truly green and which are not. They track company ethics, safety, and health.
The iRecycle app helps you identify nearby recycling locations that accept batteries, hazardous materials, and yard debris. Additionally, use water-saving apps like Water Use Calculator or H2O Tracker to track your water use. Furthermore, these apps are all free.
Remember that a green home isn't simply about snazzy devices. Technology helps, however, so do good energy and water habits. Check out the Energy Saver website and the EPA's WaterSense program for tips on lowering use.