Contains Affiliate links
We’ve all heard the expression… Waste is a thief. Over a period of weeks, months and years, it steals money directly out of your pocket and you don’t even notice it. Or, worse still, we do but we think that it’s more hassle than it’s worth to combat this conniving pickpocket. The fact is, preventing waste and making your home greener isn’t just easy… It can be fun and stylish too. The consumer technology industry is finally realizing that there’s a huge demand for products that will make homes greener and less wasteful while also optimizing style and user convenience.
Let’s face it, we rely so heavily on technology to allow us to deliver high definition movies to our home over optic fibres, we rely on it to wash our clothes, cook our food and help us keep warm and safe on cold dark nights. Why not allow it to help us save money too? Who knows, if enough people get on board, we could end up seriously reducing our carbon footprint as a society.
Surely, it’s worth a look, no?
Many people are under the impression that they have to carry out huge renovations on their homes in order to cut energy waste, but thankfully we live in an era where reducing energy waste is simply a matter of installing some clever gadgets without the need to install solar panels or more energy efficient windows. Here we’ll check out some of the most energy efficient, easy to use it and downright awesome gadgets to put some of that wasted money back into your pocket.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the humble wall plug is limited in its function, but the new generation of smart plugs do more than just sit there waiting to syphon electricity to your chosen device. If you’re sick of wondering how much energy you’re using and considering the energy efficiency of your devices a mystery then worry, no longer!
The miracle of digital technology now enables us to view our energy use and associated costs in plain, easy-to-read terms through our smartphones with smart plugs. Smart plugs have been on the market for a while now and The Smart Future has a great breakdown on the types available and their prices. While smart plugs are a great way to see and manage your energy expenditure, it’s not even the coolest thing about them. They are controlled remotely through an associated app so you don’t even need to walk over to the socket anymore to switch your appliances on or off.
Energy efficiency should be about saving money, not forking it out. With this in mind, energy saving LED light bulbs are one of the cheapest and simplest solutions on the market when it comes to fighting the good fight against energy waste. If you’re still clinging to the use of incandescent bulbs there’s a good chance you’d be astonished at the amount of energy you’re wasting. The old fashioned incandescent light bulbs worked by super heating a filament inside to produce heat and light. The trouble is that 90% of the energy produced is in the form of heat, and only 10% on light. Now that’s pretty inefficient!
Fortunately, the market is now chock full of LED (light emitting diode) and CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) bulbs that save money and help the environment while even looking stylish too!
If you’re only familiar with the original generation’s corkscrew design you’ll be impressed at how much energy efficient bulbs have changed. Pretty Handy Girl laid out their top 12 energy saving bulbs which will give you a great idea of the style and diversity on offer.
LED bulbs in particular are hugely versatile and their small size and light weight allow for a much greater range of designs. Some of them even incorporate bluetooth speakers… How’s that for futuristic?
Shower with the “Green Warrior”
The shower can be a great place to get clean while giving the neighbors a soulful rendition of Barry Manilow’s back catalog. However much you like pina coladas, though, you don’t want to be “caught in the rain” for more than four minutes with the Green Warrior shower curtain. A long shower can be relaxing but it’s also wasteful with the average American family using 40 gallons of water per day in the shower. To prevent the excessive waste of heated, energy rich water, experts recommend you shower for no more than 4 minutes which is why this unassuming plastic shower curtain is bedecked with ‘spikes’ that will inflate to their full length after that time, making the shower virtually impossible to share.
Combine this with fitting your shower with a smart shower head and you’ve got the coolest and most eco-friendly bathroom in your neighborhood.
What’s the point of heating or cooling your whole house if you and your family are only using one room? You wouldn’t have a house with just one light switch yet most of us seem perfectly content with a house that only has one thermostat. You’ll be delighted to know that you no longer have to live with the inherent wastefulness of having your homes entire heating system managed by one central thermostat. SmartZone allows you to prevent this by zoning your home with the use of up to four additional thermostats allows you to micro-manage your home’s temperature so that you can get the right temperature when and where you need it without wasting it in rooms where you’re not present. Having multiple thermostats also allows you to avoid the inherent discrepancy between reported temperature and actual temperature (which can be up to 10 degrees) which is unavoidable with a single thermostat. Check out ZoningSupply.com and you’ll see that the zoning system’s thermostats are easy to use and install. They’re also sleekly designed and unobtrusive with a simple digital interface.
Worldbeing: The ‘Fitbit’ of carbon footprint management
There was a time when digital technologies were bulky and fragile and virtually useless when taken outdoors (as anyone who ever owned a portable CD player will attest). But as it’s become smaller and hardier, it’s given rise to a huge boom in wearable technology. Many health conscious people currently wear a fitbit; a small, stylish, unobtrusive device that helps us to monitor our calorie consumption, heart rate and the number of steps taken per-day. It also promotes healthy competition by allowing users to compare their results with their friends, families and neighbors.
It’s a great concept, but UK based design firm Layer think that they can go one better. That’s why they are currently working with The Carbon Trust to create Worldbeing; a similar device for measuring energy consumption and ascertaining the wearer’s carbon footprint. It looks amazing and could help us all to easily manage our energy consumption leading to massively reduced waste that will hopefully allow the planet to breathe a sigh of relief.
In this day and age many of us use a range of portable devices from laptops to tablets to smartphones and while we’re able to take them out and about wherever we go, it’s at home that we use the energy to charge them. But, what if you could power your mobile devices absolutely free of charge using solar power? That’s exactly what the Freeloader was devised for. Say hello to fully charged devices without using a joule of your own energy. Its integrated charging arms make it suitable for an enormous range of devices while its all-weather solar charger can power two devices at the same time.
It’s also sleek, lightweight, durable and unobtrusive making it perfect for travelling.
Radiators (the clue’s in the name) radiate heat… or at least they should. The trouble is that not all radiators are created equal and some distribute their head sub-optimally, resulting in a lot of waste that you will ultimately end up paying for. Virtually all radiators are set up against a wall, and (unsurprisingly) much of the heat that comes off the back of them is just absorbed by those walls. In fact only 20% of the heat produced is actually radiated. Since the walls don’t seem to mind much what temperature they are then it’s pretty safe to say that this is wasteful.
Radiator Boosters sit on top of your radiator and work by drawing and redirecting the hot air that they produce. Essentially a temperature controlled fan, they kick in when the radiator’s temperature reaches around 86ºF / 30ºC. Upon reaching that temperature, the booster’s fans kick in and redirect the heat outward instead of upward, meaning that you any anyone else in the room gets to enjoy the added warmth rather than the wall.
It really works and can save you literally hundreds of dollars a year, but don’t take our word for it! A 2009 study conducted by the UK’s Energy Saving Trust, showed that users found they were able to turn down their thermostats by an average of 1- 3 degrees Celsius, resulting in energy cost savings of about GBP140 (US$220) per year.
Best of all, the device itself costs less than 50 cents a year to run. How’s that for efficiency?