Tech the halls: Smart home efficiency

With holiday shopping deals right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to talk to friends and family about upgrading a few items around the home to help with energy efficiency. Whether the change is big or small, there’s a way to generate some energy savings!

Smart plugs

If you’re trying to convince friends or family to invest in smarter technology around the home but they don’t feel like going all-in just yet, start them off with something simple like a smart plug. These devices plug into your electrical outlets and help manage the energy consumption of whatever you plug into them. The plugs have apps that allow users to program times of use, view energy consumption totals and remotely turn the plugs on and off.

Smart lightbulbs

Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs have been around for many years, but today’s models have many new options. Originally priced too high to justify in everyday home use, today they are comparably priced and are a popular household option and the real savings come throughout the lifetime of the bulb. Additionally, companies now offer “connected” or “smart” LEDs that let you use your smartphone/smart device as a switch via a connection hub kit. This not only allows you to change options such as the brightness and even the light color, but also to set timers and turn lights on or off from wherever you are with just a tap on an app.

Smart thermostats

With heating and cooling accounting for almost 40-50 percent of energy bills, smart thermostats can be a huge step in energy savings. Smart thermostats are WiFi enabled and may be controlled remotely through an app on a smartphone, tablet or smart speaker system. Through the app, you can access your smart thermostat to raise or lower the temperature any time, anywhere. These gadgets are ideal for users who want a totally hands-off, voice-activated approach to regulating their home’s temperature. These thermostats can also learn your habits, which means they can learn and predict your temperature settings automatically.

Smart appliances

For those already on board the technology train with smaller items, the holidays could be the perfect time to snag some deals on larger smart appliances. Washing machines, vacuums, ovens, refrigerators, coffee makers and much more have joined the ranks of items you can now control with your phone, and both the energy saving benefits and convenience factors are keeping users interested. Whether it’s conserving energy by delaying the start time on a load of laundry or having Alexa turn off your oven for you, the possibilities are endless when integrating smart appliances into your everyday life.