Smart Home: Saving Money with Tech
1. Smart Thermostats
Heating and cooling make up about half of your entire energy consumption at home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Check out Nest Learning thermostats, which are Energy-Star certified. Nest thermostats will learn what temperature you prefer at what times and will automatically adjust to fit your schedule. If your schedule gets off kilter, you can adjust temperatures from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
2. Smart Lighting
The U.S. Department of Energy says the average household dedicates 5 percent of its energy budget to lighting. Try Philips Hue lights, which you can control through your smartphone, tablet or laptop, along with voice apps, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, should you need to turn off your lights remotely. You can also save money by dimming these lights without any other installation or setting them on a timer. The lights are also color-customizable as one Fortune editor programmed her Hue lights to turn red when she received a text from her boss. Other Hue lighting products can mimic the daytime or nighttime and have motion-sensor capabilities.
3. Smart Plugs
Smart plugs, like this one from Belkin, fits right into the outlet in your home’s walls. Plug your appliances, beauty products or even your lights into this smart device to control them from wherever you are. If you desperately need a cup of coffee by the time you get home from work, connect your coffee maker with the smart plug and — provided you have the ground beans and water already in there — it’ll be waiting for you. Or if your daughter has left her hair straightener on in the rush to get her to school, turn it off from work. Some of these devices can also be paired with Nest Home-Away controls and voice apps.
4. Smart Appliances
Refrigerators, washing machines and vacuum cleaners, oh my! Many of these appliances already have touch-screens. Some come equipped with Wifi capabilities, so there’s no need to buy more parts. Take, for example, smart refrigerators. Capabilities differ by product and brand, but some now allow you to create a grocery list on the appliance and have that uploaded to the same list accessible by your smartphone. Other fridges include a camera so you can see what you already have and what you might have missed. They’re now able to connect to your television shows or music for the ultimate cooking experience.