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As we all become more conscious of our negative impact on the environment, it’s time to look for more sustainable methods to make up for years of fossil fuel use and non-renewable energy. One of the best ways we can reduce the amount of energy we waste is by turning to smart home technology.

Most people see smart home technology as a novel type of technology that adds some convenience. You can speak with Alexa and order her to play your favorite song or ask what the weather is like. But some smart devices you can find around your house do more than answer back or work as your assistant; they’re doing their part to create a more energy energy-efficient home to combat global warming. Consider the following smart home devices and how their features can help you on your journey to more sustainable living.

Smart Water Valves

Water is one of our most precious resources. Doing your part to conserve this resource is one of the best steps you can take toward sustainable living. Nested flumes can help conserve water, but it requires retrofitting or installation which may require excavation or retro-fitting in some homes.

We already have Alexa-enabled toilets by Kohler for convenience, but smart valves are a new introduction to sustainable smart home technology and a great tool to conserve water. Flo by Moen is one such smart valve currently available. Known as a “smart water leak detector,” it’s installed on water pipes and uses sensors to monitor and detect changes in water pressure and flow. The smart detector may notice a leak long before you see it which could save you money on your water bill from days, weeks, or even months of wasted water from a concealed, leaking pipe.

The smart device will send a notification to your smartphone notifying you of a potential leak in your system. In addition to saving money on wasted water, this could also reduce the risk of mold in your wall’s interiors caused by a prolonged leak. Flo by Moen focuses on detecting leaks, but smart water valve technology may expand in the future to include devices that can make suggestions on how to improve water efficiency, or they may even control water flow for a more sustainable home.

Smart Thermostats

The smart thermostat may be the first thing you think about when you think about smart home technology. Some of the most popular smart thermostats are Nest and Hive. They automate your home’s temperature so effortlessly and in such a user-friendly way that many people can’t imagine living without the ability to remotely turn on their home air conditioner or heater before they leave work for home. It’s a luxury to arrive home and enjoy the perfect temperature.

Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of U.S. home energy expenditures. Smart thermostats can reduce a person’s home energy consumption by allowing the user to schedule what times of day the air conditioner or heater should run, or by shutting the system off if family members forget to shut it off when they left home.

Modern smart thermostats can even go one step further than this by using artificial intelligence to learn a homeowner’s daily habits. Then, the HVAC system automatically runs more efficiently by automatically adjusting a room’s temperature or shutting the system off when not in use. Nest’s thermostat can save its customers 10% to 12% on heating consumption and 15% on cooling. This may save you an average of $131 to $145 a year, and it also reduces your carbon footprint, reducing how you negatively impact the environment.

Smart Switches and Plugs

Setting up a home automation system consists of many layers. As mentioned, a smart thermostat can control the temperature and smart water valves can monitor water usage. Adding smart switches and plugs help you control and reduce your energy consumption by controlling how much electricity certain items around the house use.

Smart plugs or switches lower the chances of leaving a light on when you leave home or leaving your smartphone or tablet charger plugged in without a device attached to it. If you have smart plugs and switches around the house, you’ll be able to remotely turn off turn lamps, small appliances, or other devices off or to program them to run during certain hours. The electric bill savings are a good selling point, but reducing your contribution to global warming may have a greater impact than the amount you save.

Smart Devices and IoT — Are They Worth It?

Sustainable smart home devices come with a higher price tag. Is the investment worth it? In addition to the extra price, there is also concern about the Internet of Things (IOT) security. After all, most smart home devices can be controlled remotely. Fortunately, most smart home developers have factored in enough security to give you the peace of mind you need.

You can expand on IoT and smart home device security by locking down the home network your device connects to. Some ways include setting your router name to hidden (if available on your router), using strong passwords and WPA2 encryption to make it difficult to hack into your home’s WiFi network. Change the smart device’s default security settings to stronger, custom ones.

Once you secure your smart home equipment and set them up to improve your home’s energy efficiency, these devices can help you reduce your impact on the environment and create a greener, more sustainable home.

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