Going Green with Smart Home Technology

Feb 10, 2016 • Gadgets
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Did you know that more than 61 percent of American energy consumption goes to waste? That statistic alone shows that the U.S. is in dire need of a more environmentally conscious attitude. The good news is, if you really want to save the planet, you don’t necessarily have to sell your car and live off the land. You can start with a few simple changes in your very own home — and home automation can help.

For those unfamiliar with the term, home automation essentially means using technology to connect, control, and automate normal home processes, turning a regular home into a “smart” home. With home automation, doors can be locked and unlocked through a mobile app, and appliances can be set to run on timers and motion sensors.

Additionally, as smart home technology develops, automation devices are becoming greener and, subsequently, more affordable. While there will still be upfront expenses for smart technology, the eco-friendly perks of home automation make the investment cost-effective and beneficial. Some gadgets are so efficient that the resulting energy savings more than make up for the initial cost of the device.

If you’re interested in using home automation to make your home more eco-friendly, here’s how to get started.

Lighting

Indoors, the best way to conserve energy is to use light only when you need it. Timers, Wi-Fi connectivity, power consumption trackers, and sensors are just a few of the eco-friendly smart lighting solutions available. Motion detectors are especially helpful in guaranteeing that lights don’t get left on in your house, as they can be set to automatically turn lights off based on movement in the room. If you prefer a bit more control, some smart lighting systems offer whole-home LED bulb control, giving you the power to schedule and adjust brightness whether you’re home or away.

Motion-sensor lights work well outdoors, as do dimmer switches. Some wireless smart garden lighting fixtures provide illumination through solar power, making them independently sustainable. Plus, as with indoor solutions, many outdoor systems can be customized and monitored through a mobile app.

Temperature Control

Close to 25 percent of American home electric bills go toward heating and cooling, meaning that temperature regulation is vital to creating a truly energy-efficient home. Smart thermostats allow you to program your temperature schedule from your mobile device, reducing energy usage when you’re away. Some smart thermostats can even monitor and adjust for weather conditions, all while adapting to your home habits and preferences – check out this surprisingly extensive list of smart thermostats.

Outlet Monitoring

Energy experts estimate that between five and 10 percent of an average homeowner’s annual power consumption is wasted powering electronics that aren’t actually in use. These “energy vampires” suck power by just being plugged in, even if they aren’t turned on. Smart outlets can change that, using energy use trackers, scheduling features, and motion sensors to cut standby power consumption. New smart power strips even have Wi-Fi modules built in, so you can turn individual outlets on and off from your mobile device without physically unplugging any devices.

Water Usage

Around one-third of residential water goes toward outdoor uses, and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 50 percent of that is wasted due to inefficient watering methods, evaporation, and wind runoff. Automated sprinklers can help put a stop to that waste. The latest smart sprinkler systems adjust for cold or wet weather, anticipate soil moisture levels, monitor yard health, and prevent runoff with custom cycles. That’s a combination that not only conserves water, but also cuts down your monthly utility bills.

Overall, home automation products are easy to install and simple to operate, making green living a realistic goal. And with so many efficient options available, you’re likely to recoup a good portion of your upfront costs in lifetime energy savings. That’s a small investment to make your home both eco-friendly and convenient.

Alice Williams

Alice Williams has an MA in Communication Studies and a passion for wellness. She started Honestly Fitness, a health and fitness blog, to share sustainable ways to live a happy and healthy life. In addition to wellness, she enjoys writing about business, social media and of course, tech.

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