While smart-home devices are great for automating mundane tasks around the house, finding one that effectively saves you money on your utility bills can feel like you’ve found a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. And now, seeing as energy prices are forecasted to rise throughout the next couple of years, it’s time for homeowners to preemptively establish measures to counteract these prices.
But before running out to buy costly appliances, such as Samsung’s new AI-powered refrigerator, it’s important to first consider how a few small, yet impactful, purchases can greatly assist in creating a sustainable smart house. Keeping in mind that St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, here are a few devices that can turn your home green, while saving some green.
During the winter and summer months, heating and cooling units can quickly rack up some extreme costs if left unchecked. In an effort to reduce these costs, a variety of smart thermostats have gained popularity amongst consumers over the last few years; with manufacturers like Nest and Ecobee leading the race. And although many of these options can help a household significantly reduce their power bills if programmed correctly, Ecobee offers some unique features that shouldn’t be overlooked.
By placing small sensors in each room of a household, Ecobee wirelessly pulls information from each room to create a cohesive and comfortable living environment across your entire home. This allows owners to resolve any problematic hot or cold spots without breaking the bank. But perhaps your home doesn’t face inconsistent temperatures from room to room. In that case, Ecobee offers individuals the option to use these same sensors as motion detectors. In turn, Ecobee can be programmed to only activate heating or cooling units when someone is visibly present in the room.
Aside from these additional smart sensors, Ecobee’s line of thermostats are controllable via Amazon Alexa voice commands or through a smartphone companion app. In the app, homeowners can remotely program timers so that A/C units only run during specific timeframes; ensuring costs are cut whilst still allowing residents to be greeted with a comfortable environment after a long day at the office or school. But, more importantly, Ecobee’s smartphone app provides users with a simple way to conduct an energy audit; allowing them to review and compare their monthly savings with other Ecobee users.
Kasa Smart Power Strip
While the term “phantom power” may sound like a supernatural phenomenon, in reality it’s the energy used by electronics when they’re turned off, but still plugged in. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the average home contains 40 products that constantly draw power; resulting in 10% of their monthly electricity bill.
Fortunately, TP-Link, the electronic manufacturing group known for its Wi-Fi devices, has developed a technology to resolve this issue. Released in early 2019, the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip not only reduces energy costs, it is essentially capable of turning any connected piece of technology into a basic smart-home device. With each of the power strip’s six outlets and three USB slots being independently operated, owners can use the device’s Wi-Fi to pair it with a smartphone app or Alexa device; allowing technology plugged into the strip to be controlled from a distance. Along with adding remote control features to any connected device, the main draw of TP-Link’s Kasa Power Strip is its ability to monitor and relay the energy consumption of each device to the smartphone application. For tech that’s plugged in but not in use, TP-Link’s Kasa power strip completely cuts all power to the device, eliminating the cost associated with phantom power consumption.
Hydrao Shower Head
Although the previous two devices focused on reducing a household’s electricity use, the next piece of technology on this list is determined to lower a home’s water bill; one shower at a time. Using a series of color-changing lights, Hydrao’s line of shower heads keep those who like to take long showers informed on the water they’re letting go to waste. And better yet, no professional installed is required.
Out of the box, the Hydrao shower head’s lighting mechanism is water-turbine operated and pre-programmed to change from green, to blue, to purple, and finally red; with each color signifying two gallons of water usage. Using Hydrao’s smartphone app, owners can customize the amount of water associated with each of these colors; tailoring it to fit their needs. Furthermore, inside the app, users are given a backlog of 1,000 showers, the time spent in each one, and how each contributes to the household’s monthly savings; based on the current water and heating costs of their residential area.
Before purchasing one of the manufacturer’s three shower head options, consider visiting Hydrao’s website to measure your estimated savings; based on the number of household showers per day, typical shower durations, and local energy costs.
Roost Smart Battery
Rather than having a direct effect on a household’s monthly utility bill, the goal of this next technology is to ensure a home’s safety over an extended period of time. Known as the Roost Smart Battery, this seemingly simplistic device replaces the standard battery found in most smoke alarms.
Like other items on this list, the Roost battery connects to Wi-Fi and sends data directly to an accompanying smartphone application. In return, should a smoke detector’s alarm sound, homeowners can opt to receive emergency alerts directly to their phone. On the other hand, if a home’s smoke detector goes off for a non-emergency, users can silence the alarm through the app. Finally, Roost promises to make those annoying 3AM chirping noises a thing of the past by sending notifications before the battery is drained; which typically takes a Roost battery three to five years.
With the consumer market now being overrun by smart-home devices, it’s important that you select the technology specific to your needs and household income. Regardless of the devices you choose to incorporate into your home, Rocket IT hopes that you make an effort to keep sustainable technology at the forefront of your decision-making throughout St. Patrick’s Day and beyond.
For those individuals looking to implement socially responsible technology initiatives beyond their home and into their organizations, Rocket IT encourages you to check out this related article on green IT for businesses