Watt, Why & How e-Newsletter

Technologies That Can Change Your Energy Life

Source: iStock
Smart thermostat

You want to save energy and live more sustainably, but that can take a lot of time and you're busy. No worries. Researchers have been hard at work developing new gadgets that make it easy to conserve. Install these devices in your home and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the savings.

Next generation thermostats

Programmable thermostats are the most cost-effective way to reduce your energy costs, but they can be complicated to use. Innovative new models are available to help optimize savings on your heating and cooling bills, while making adjusting temperatures easier and more convenient.

  • The Nest programs itself and continually adapts to your changing needs. It automatically creates a personalized schedule to optimize energy efficiency and fit your lifestyle.
  • The Ecobee WiFi thermostat includes a touchscreen interface and remote sensors. The sensors continually monitor each room and the thermostat adjusts temperatures whenever someone arrives or leaves.

Advanced power strips

Many electronic devices in your home—TV, game console, microwave oven—continue to draw power even when they're turned off. This is known as phantom load, which costs the average household $100 a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Once, the only way to stop phantom load was to unplug each device, which isn't very convenient. Now, advanced power strips make saving energy a snap.

Advanced power strips don't look all that different, but they include some very smart energy-saving capabilities. Plug devices into 'controllable' outlets and they will automatically switch off when they are not being used. Constant or 'hot' outlets are available for equipment that must remain on.

Some advanced models come with additional features that add more convenience. Occupancy sensors and timers shut off power when nobody's around, or according to a set schedule. Current sensing units shut off equipment when it detects a drop in power, like when your computer goes into sleep mode.

Smart appliances

Source: iStock
Using smartphone while shopping

Companies such as GE, Whirlpool and LG are developing WiFi enabled smart appliances that are designed to streamline everyday tasks and keep you connected to your home wherever you are. From your mobile device you can do cool things like:

  • Preheat your oven while you are still at the grocery store.
  • Get an alert if your refrigerator door has been left open.
  • Stay updated on how much time is left on laundry wash or dry cycles.

These and other slick new devices are available to make your life simpler, smarter and cheaper. As technology continues to advance, who knows what you'll be able to accomplish tomorrow.

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