It’s natural to be attracted by the latest and greatest gadgets. Technology has almost always made life easier; tools reduce your workload by automating, scheduling or otherwise facilitating your tasks. The most recent additions to the technology market are smart home devices, which seem to go even further to improve quality of life.
However, as anyone committed to helping the environment might wonder: Are smart home devices green? Do they do anything to reduce our load on the environment? Can you build a smart home that enhances your sustainable efforts?
The answers to these questions, thankfully, are: yes, yes and yes. Read on for more information about why smart homes might be the best solution for sustainable homes and how you can use them to your advantage today.
Smart Homes Boast More Efficient Resource Usage
You raise your thermostat a few degrees in the summer and lower it down a few degrees in the winter, but can you be sure your HVAC is operating optimally any season? What about lights — you want them on when you come home at night, but you don’t want to waste energy by leaving them on for hours in the interim. What is a sustainability-minded homeowner to do?
For both these situations and others, smart home systems come through with the solution. Because smart tools allow more effective monitoring of use and energy consumption, they help you use the right amount of energy when you need to — and eliminate wasteful energy use altogether. From anywhere in the world, you can control your thermostat, your lights and a handful of other major energy consumers around your home, so you can be certain you aren’t sucking up more resources than you need to stay safe and comfortable.
Still, not all smart home tools are essential to reducing your environmental impact. Here are the top gadgets you need in your smart home system to improve your resource efficiency:
Thermostat. HVAC systems are the energy-hungriest features of your home, so controlling them precisely at all times is critical for sustainability and optimal energy use. A smart thermostat is easy to install and use and provides noticeable effects on your energy bill.
Lighting. Replacing your halogen lightbulbs with LEDs is a good first step to cutting your energy bill, but by using smart LEDs, you can turn your lights off and on from anywhere. That means you don’t need to leave your lights on in case you return home after dark; you can flick them on just beforehand to reduce energy use.
Window treatments. When the sun sets through your western windows in the summer, your house heats up, increasing the load on your HVAC. Thus, you should have smart window treatments that know to block out the sun at certain times of day — or that you can raise or lower through your smart home system.
Irrigation. It’s easy to focus on your energy bill at the expense of your water usage. You should invest in a smart irrigation system, so you know your plants are getting exactly what they need — and not a drop more.
You Can Start Building a Smart Home in a Few Easy Steps
While you should consider gathering all these smart home gadgets, doing so out of order could negatively impact how they function, meaning your home won’t be as conveniently green as you might have hoped. Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to build an optimal smart home once you know the correct first steps. Here’s a short-but-sweet guide to making a functional, sustainable smart home.
Choose Your Smart Assistant
Your smart assistant will be how you communicate with all the smart gadgets around your home. Choosing your assistant is an important first step because you will accumulate smart tools according to the assistant you choose. Thus, you need to be certain you have the best home assistant for you. As of this writing, there are three major options: Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon and Google… from Google. If you are already comfortable using one over the others — say, you have an Apple phone or a Google computer — you might want to stick with that one.
Research Smart Devices
Next, you should begin looking into the smart devices on offer. Your first goal should be to verify that certain devices integrate with the assistant you chose. Next, you should compare and contrast the features available on similar devices as well as their price points. Finally, you should understand each gadget’s warranty and perhaps invest in additional protection to ensure you enjoy high-quality service for years to come.
Use Your Smart Devices
Most important of all, you must be willing and able to use your smart home system — otherwise, your home will remain as wasteful and inefficient as ever. Fortunately, smart home devices tend to be intuitive and convenient, meaning you are more likely to play around with them and optimize your environment in the process.