Today’s innovations in smart home technology not only make life easier, but also more environmentally friendly. Various tech like smart thermostats, smart power strips and smart irrigation systems all help decrease your home’s energy consumption, thereby increasing its energy efficiency — not to mention save you a hefty sum on utility costs.
But what devices should you get? Today, there’s a myriad of devices that you can install and manage all via your smartphone. However, you probably won’t need them all, depending on where in your home you want to optimize — although you definitely can if you’d like.
Here are a few of the smart gadgets we use in our homes to save energy (and money on our bills).
1. Smart Thermostat
If you only get one thing on this list — this should be it.
With smart thermostats, you can control the heating and cooling settings in your home from afar. There are tons of ways you can customize them, including programming it to turn to a certain temperature when you get home based on your phone’s location.
Best of all, they allow you to optimize temperature settings based on your usage activity and weather in your area. The experts are split between the Ecobee Smart Thermostat (with voice control) and the Nest Learning Thermostat. When programmed, these devices save people (including us at Chariot) money on our bills.
2. Smart Plugs/Outlets
Smart plugs and outlets are outlets with timers — but loaded with more smart tech benefits.
Many smart outlet models can be programmed to a schedule, enabled with Alexa or Google, and flipped on or off at the press of a button on your smartphone. You can also monitor their energy usage, which gives you the opportunity to slay energy vampires (these are appliances that use electricity even when they’re off) and reduce your energy consumption.
3. Smart Air Conditioner
For those without centralized air conditioning, companies like GE are offering smart home air conditioners that can be controlled with your phone. These devices can be operated remotely via your phone, but they can also notify you of air quality (i.e. when you need to replace your filter), offer you energy usage reports to optimize the system better, and more.
4. Smart Sprinkler
A smart sprinkler or irrigation system doesn’t necessarily save a home much in energy, but they do save lots in water! The New York Times agrees that the Rachio 3 is the “most flexible” and “easy-to-use” sprinkler system offered. The Rachio 3, including the other top candidates, offer at least some weather forecasting integration as well as connection to Alexa, Google Assistant, among other smart home devices.
5. Smart Window Shades
There are many smart window treatments out there today — many if not all controllable via your voice assistant of choice, such as Alexa or Google Assistant. These devices are meant to manage your home’s temperature with ease, by strategically closing and opening shades at your desired times of the day. And if it gets too hot or too cold, all it takes is a short voice command to open or close the blinds for you.
The effect is a better use of your air conditioning and heating and using the sun as a natural heating and cooling agent for your home.