February 15, 2018

When you're considering your impact on the environment, the words "reuse" and "renew" — not "buy something new" — probably come to mind. But a few smart purchases can actually help you lower your carbon footprint as they raise your quality of life. Here's a look at some smart gadget choices that every green-minded consumer should consider bringing into their homes.

Go green with lighting

It may come as no surprise to hear that switching to LED bulbs can dramatically lower your monthly energy bill. But what may surprise you is how much these smart bulbs can enhance your home in several other energy-saving ways.

Plain LED bulbs are plentiful and inexpensive, but some upgraded products have entered the market in recent years that offer compelling extra features with a small additional investment and a simple Wi-Fi connection. For example, a smart home hub with a mobile app can control your lights. It allows you to:

  • Dim the lights with a swipe of your finger. (You can also make their white balance warmer or even paint your walls in every shade of the rainbow.) A dimmer light uses less energy, and using an app to control them is easier than swapping your light switches for a dimming version.
  • Program your LEDs to automatically shut off after you fall asleep, move into another room, or leave the house. Using them only when you need to is the best way to make an impact.

Get into hot water (the good kind)

Water heaters are usually the type of home appliance that you only replace when it breaks. But swapping out your water heater for a newer model can dramatically lower your power usage (especially during the colder months).

Hybrid-electric water heaters come equipped with a special heat pump that can harness the ambient heat in your garage and use it to heat your water (a process which is substantially more energy efficient than heating the water with electric coils alone). These advanced units typically come with Wi-Fi connectivity as well. And, when you combine these tools with the smart home hub of your choice, you can get leak notifications and even easily turn your water heater off when you're heading out of town. It's a great tool for more responsible water consumption.

Keep comfortable

One of the best ways to lower your home's carbon footprint is to be more efficient with how you heat and cool your home. A smart thermostat is a powerful tool that can have immediate effects on your energy consumption (and monthly bills).

Switching out your old wall wart to a new thermostat takes about 30 minutes, but that small time investment will radically upgrade the control you have over your HVAC system. In addition to having convenient smart phone controls, most smart thermostats can intelligently schedule your temperature controls after interpreting your usage patterns for just a few weeks. They can also monitor motion and weekly activity, making sure that valuable energy (and money!) isn't being wasted when the house is empty for hours. Who knew a thermostat would become your new favorite gadget?

Upgrade with a clean conscience

Going green doesn't mean you have to go without. You can add convenience, functionality, and even shiny new toys to your home while making it greener at the same time. When you link these tech devices via a smart home hub from the gadget store or your internet service provider, you can remotely manage and control each device. This one hub can help you easily maximize your green lifestyle while expanding the comfort of your home.

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Eric Murrell, Guest Poster

Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to XFINITY Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people can benefit from incorporating smart home automation and security in their homes on his blog At Home in the Future.