April 22, 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, when 20 million Americans took to the streets and rallied for a healthier planet. This year, with most of us stuck at home, this is the perfect time to consider ways we can help the planet by making our homes more eco-friendly.
Every time you turn on a light or adjust your thermostat, you’re using energy. More and more apartment buildings and homeowners are installing solar panels to draw their energy from a renewable resource—the sun. But many homes still use energy sourced from fossil fuels. And we know the burning of fossil fuels contributes to the mounting climate crisis, from the increasing number of extreme weather events to arctic melt and sea level rise. Reducing our energy usage at home is a big part of reducing the harmful impact of fossil fuel emissions on the planet.
Here at IOTAS, we see smart home devices play an important role in reducing our impact on the environment by giving residents more control over the energy they use every day. And we believe the growth of smart home technology, for both owners and renters, will empower more people to be conscious conservers.
Smart Home Devices That Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
The heating of homes typically accounts for 35-50% of annual energy bills, depending on the climate and how much space you have. Turning the temperature down when leaving the house or in rooms you’re not using is one way to drastically reduce energy usage—which is good for our wallets and the planet.
Smart thermostats enable residents to control the temperature from their phone and automate temperature decrease or increase at predetermined times. Smart thermostats offer more efficient control over heating and cooling, so you’re only using as much energy as you really need. And with temperature controls on your phone, you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to turn the heat down or leave your workspace midday to adjust the temperature as the sun warms your office.
2. Leak detectors
Leak detectors can catch a small leak or frozen pipes before they turn into big problems. Smart leak detectors will send an alert to your phone, so even if you’re not around, you can call a plumber or ask maintenance to turn the water off. This hopefully prevents significant property damage, which can lead to mold or expensive repairs. Smart leak detectors can alert you in as few as ten seconds, helping to prevent water waste and the material waste that results when walls or floors must be replaced.
3. Smart outlets
Can’t remember where you last plugged in your phone charger? That’s probably because we’re all juggling so many electronics these days, it’s hard to keep track. An abundance of electronics, not to mention our lights, appliances, and everything else we plug in, makes it difficult to be mindful of how much energy all of these things are using. Even if you’re a stickler about turning off the lights when you leave a room, anything that’s plugged in will keep using a small amount of energy, even when they’re turned off. (This is often referred to as “vampire energy” or standby electricity loss.) Smart plugs allow users to cut energy to the plugs entirely, and control every plug from one place on their phone. It’s a simple way to save significant energy on all those chargers, lights, and more.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can’t get more local than the backyard, and a home garden makes it easy to steer clear of harmful pesticides.
You can take your home garden one step further with smart irrigation systems, which have proven to conserve 30-50% of water used in keeping healthy, thriving plants. Smart irrigation systems detect the amount of moisture available and water accordingly, using data collected to determine just the right amount of water required. This will save you money on your water bill, while keeping your home garden bountiful.
5. Window shades and blinds
Passive homes are gaining popularity for their enormous environmental benefits. A passive home is designed to naturally heat and cool itself, without the energy required of heating and cooling systems. But passive homes are cost-prohibitive for many people. Blinds and shades, however, are an accessible alternative, allowing for energy-free temperature regulation by simply blocking the sun or inviting more in.
Smart blinds and shades can be set to open and close at predetermined ties. Some can even respond to the in door and outdoor temperatures to open and shut on their own for optimum efficiency. By adding smart home technology to your windows, you can harness the warmth of the sun and cooler night temperatures to greatly reduce your energy usage.
6. Smart Lights
Set the mood or set a timer to make sure your lights aren’t using unnecessary energy. Smart lights can be turned on and off from your phone, so if you can’t remember whether or not you hit that switch, it’s easy to double check and do so from anywhere. If you like to leave a light on to make it look like someone’s home when you’re out of town, a preset timer can turn them off late at night. Smart lights can also be set to turn on as soon as you enter your home—or set the kids’ lights to go off at bedtime. Dimmers on smart lights can also help you save energy, with just the right amount of light at dinner time or a movie.Smart lights give users more control over how often and when their lights are being used. For even more every saving, switch your bulbs to LEDs!
Interested in learning even more about the benefits of smart home technology? IOTAS has you covered.