As we approach the end of 2020, the team at EBE is thinking about goals for 2021. One of our core values is Environmental Stewardship. We live the core value by demonstrating care for the environment and acting upon opportunities for change. Now that many of us are spending more time at home than usual, we find that applying our environmental stewardship core value invites us to look at change through a work-from-home lens. Smart home technologies can make work-from home more sustainable.
When we think about applying smart technology to our work-from-home environment, we find ways to not only help sustain the planet for future generations, we find ways to help our families save money on utilities. As you look towards 2021 - or maybe as you are holiday shopping - there are plenty of options available to help reduce your impact and support your sustainability goals. Reducing consumption of energy, water and waste not only benefits the planet, but can also save money.
Smart thermostats, or even programmable thermostats, help lower energy consumption by reducing heating needs. Schedules can be set to heat and cool your home an hour before you return so heat does not run all day while you’re away at work. The same applies for traveling. You can lower your heating temperature in the winter on days you are away to reduce energy.
Product Suggestion: Google Nest Learning Thermostat
TIP: Working from home? While many people now have more home offices than ever, smart thermostats can help identify energy consumption trends and practices in your home and will adjust to fit your needs.
Smart LED light bulbs allow you to pre-set schedules with your lighting or use your voice with smart home series connections, such as Alexa, to turn off/on lights easier. Setting schedules can help keep your lights automatically turning off in your house after you’ve gone to work or turning them on at night when the sun sets.
Product Suggestion: Kasa Smart LED Wi-Fi Light Bulbs
TIP: Leaving lights on in the rest of your house while you’re working in one room can be wasteful, especially if you’re not using efficient light bulbs. Lower your electricity costs by replacing bulbs with LED or smart home connective bulbs to allow you to control lights by app or voice technology.
Power Strips allow you to connect multiple devices into one, grounded power strip which can help you reduce energy when you’re away from home by turning off one power strip rather than unplugging all the devices. Individual outlet plugs can also help you turn off and on items such as TV, lamps, or stereos without having to walk over and unplug the device. Some products include remotes, voice connectivity to smart home devices such as Alexa, or their own apps.
Product Suggestion: Kasa Smart Power Strips
TIP: Using smart home technology such as Alexa or Google Home along with smart outlets and smart schedules can help track your regular habits. This technology will inform you when items have been turned on longer than normal. For example, when my smart KASA power outlet has had the TV and Apple TV plugs on for longer than usual on a weekend, Alexa will ask me if I’d like to turn them off when they are out of use.
Install smart home water monitors to track and help catch leaks sooner. Tracking water consumption can help educate home owners on how to reduce water consumption on a daily basis.
Product Suggestion: Flume 2 Smart Home Wi-Fi Water Monitor and Leak Detector
Reduce Waste (not smart technology, but still smart!)
- Composting kits - There are small bins for collecting compost inside, but you also need a backyard composter (or find a local place to drop off). Here is a dual trash can that you can speak to for voice connectivity.
Product Suggestion: Simplehuman Dual Compartment Rectangular Sensor Can
TIP: Set up a new recycling bin to help sort trash from recycling in your home and make curbside separation easier.
Improve Your Environment
Air Purifiers cannot reduce energy use but can improve indoor air quality. Using air purifiers in your home can help reduce the amount of pollutants and toxins that linger in your air, especially in the winter when the windows aren’t open as often to bring in fresh air. Newer air purifiers can even connect to Alexa or Google Homes to turn on and off with voice control. Air purifiers help eliminate germs, mold, odors and some even contain HEPA filters and UV light to help eliminate more germs in the air.
Product Suggestion: Germ Guardian Wi-Fi Bluetooth Smart Voice Control Air Purifier