Using Technology to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Here’s a serious question: Excuse me, what efficiency rating is your washing machine?
Here’s a serious question: Excuse me, what efficiency rating is your washing machine?

Whatever your views are on human-made climate change, or what side of the so-called political spectrum (read, divide) that you stand on, we can all agree that it’s crucial to take care of the planet. Isn’t it obvious?

The only problem is that it can be hard to know what to do. With one look around, you can see that the people at the top cause environmental catastrophe every day while the people at the bottom seem to bear the pressure. That causes a feeling that everything is beyond your control.

Despite this (orchestrated) feeling of helplessness, it’s still crucial to take the small steps in your life that can lead to a collectively brighter future.

That applies to both companies and individuals. Even mega-corporations across several industries like Walmart use solar panels and green energy providers while PokerStars uses thermal insulation, recycled rainwater and renewable energy at their new office in Sofia, Bulgaria. You can also take steps to make your home more energy efficient using technology. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Choose Appliances Based on Energy Efficiency

Improvements to technology, combined with an awareness and demand for efficiency, means that there are now more eco-friendly appliances available on the market. One of the main ways that you can improve the efficiency of your home is by choosing these products according to their rating, with an efficiency rating of A representing the highest, and G the lowest.

For instance, eco-kettles use an estimated 30 percent less power. Combined with your habit of boiling what you need, these small daily savings can soon add up. The same goes for fridges, dishwashers, TVs and so on. You can also upgrade your boiler and switch to LED lights in your home. It’s not to have the right colour scheme, but rather it’s more important to have the right lighting.

Programmable Thermostat and Smart Meters 

It’s simple enough to install (or have someone else install) a programmable thermostat and connect it to your boiler. This nifty device allows you to set the temperature for your home. Not only is it more convenient, but it also means you can set times so that the heating is off when you are asleep or out of the house, only heating your home when necessary. You can even control some thermostats via an app, switching them on right before you get home from work.

Smart meters are also useful for staying more in control of your energy usage. They allow you to see how much energy you’re using and whether you’re using a lot at any given moment. You can use them to identify devices and lights that waste energy and regulate your usage.

Integrate Renewable Energy 

Solar panels are an expensive investment, but if you can afford them, then you should probably go ahead and get them.
Solar panels are an expensive investment, but if you can afford them, then you should probably go ahead and get them.

In an ideal world, and perhaps the only possible future, energy will have to be renewable. That will require big changes from the top, but it can also come from homeowners who spend their home improvement dollars investing in renewables.

One of the simplest ways to make the flip is to change energy providers to someone who specialises in renewables and takes a strong stance against harmful methods of harnessing energy such as fracking.

Solar panels can be an excellent source of power, even in countries like the U.K. As the technology has improved, the panels have come down in price and can work even in cloudy conditions. They still represent a significant investment of several thousand dollars for the average homeowner who has them installed but can save 40 percent or more on energy bills.

There are also other ways to utilize renewable energy in your home. Biomass boilers have become more popular and can generate energy in the winter when solar panels start to struggle. You may also want to consider mini wind turbines or even micro-water wheels on your downspouts. Heat pump systems also work well to reduce the energy used and can combine with solar panels to create an efficient system.

Doing What You Can 

It’s all about taking simple steps and doing what you can to make a difference. Consuming less is the best option, but when we do make purchase decisions for the home, we should choose technologies that are more energy efficient and safer for the environment.

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