How Smart Home Technology Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Over the course of the last two and a half decades, US greenhouse gas emissions have slowly climbed by roughly 7%. Historical efforts to lower that output generally involved cutting back on energy use—turning out lights or reducing reliance on HVAC systems, for example. And while energy reduction is an actionable way to promote environmental sustainability, it’s no longer the only way.
New smart home technology is paving the way for cleaner energy use. By providing homeowners with increased control over their appliances, smart homes allow users to make their energy expenditure more efficient without sacrificing comfort. To give you a better idea of how, specifically, smart home features can positively affect your carbon footprint, let’s look at some emerging smart home technology and the ways that tech is contributing to a safer, cleaner future.
Clean and Helpful Smart Home Solutions
In 2014, at least 14 major weather events were affected by human-caused climate change. If you want to do your part in reducing the greenhouse gasses that cause global climate change, but aren’t sure how to do so, these four green smart home devices could be a good place to start.
According to the International Energy Agency, grid-based electric lighting consumes 19% of total global electricity production. Smart lighting stands to reduce that usage substantially. “Energy savings of up to 50% have been well documented in many [smart lighting] installations,” according to IT research firm Gartner.
Most smart lighting systems work by detecting motion and natural light levels in different parts of your home to adjust their settings accordingly. These systems also provide users with remote control of lighting appliances, which is perfect for those who frequently forget to turn out the lights before heading off to work.
Heating and cooling accounts for more than half the energy use in the average US home, making temperature moderation an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. And the easiest way to efficiently control your indoor temperature is to upgrade to a smart thermostat.
Instead of allowing your heating or air conditioning system to run unnecessarily, smart thermostats gauge a home’s temperature and adjust themselves accordingly to ensure there’s no energy waste. Motion sensors assist with this task, too, providing information on whether the home is currently occupied and therefore needs to be heated or cooled.
Smart Power Strips
Plugged-in electronics in standby mode still use electricity—a lot of it—and increase your carbon output. Smart power strips, however, can prevent that sort of waste.
Advanced power strips can recognize when devices are no longer in use and subsequently restrict their access to power. If you regularly run around unplugging things before bed every night, a smart power strip will help you rest easy—computers, TVs, and gaming consoles will all be kept in check.
Windows are another big energy weak point—they can let heat in and out, significantly raising a home’s energy expenditure. Windows that use smart glass, however, are another story.
Smart windows use electrochromic technology to change color when an electric current is applied, giving it the ability to control the amount of light and heat that can pass through into a room. And while smart glass is still an emerging technology that is yet to become widely used in homebuilding, it can help those who do use it reduce their energy consumption.
Smart Home Benefits Beyond Cleaner Usage
In addition to reducing carbon footprints, smart home technology has the added benefit if enhancing home security. “Smart homes protect policyholders from negative events such as loss or damage, and insurers have taken note.” Joshua Adamson of Safeco Home Insurance explains, “Insurance companies want to be instrumental in increasing home security for their customers, while potentially lowering costs for all parties.”
Smart home tech users don’t just stand to see insurance savings, either. More efficient energy use means energy bill savings as well. And those savings can have an especially big impact on those living in states with high electricity costs, like Hawaii and New York.
If you want to live more sustainably and contribute to global efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, smart homes are a great way to do so. The more you learn about their benefits, the clearer their appeal becomes. As with most environmental efforts, change happens when many individuals chip in to make a difference, so stay mindful of your carbon footprint and continue looking for ways you can reduce it.
Guest Post by Jonathan Deesing, SolarPowerAuthority.com