By Alexis Breitkreutz
Technology grows and changes just as fast as we do.
In years past, we’ve seen technology appear that we never thought we’d ever see, only to have it quickly replaced by something newer and better — and just as we finally figured out how to use it. With technology growing so quickly and needing to be replaced faster than a growing infant’s clothing, how do we keep our biggest babies — our homes — outfitted properly for the future?
Many homebuilders recommend that you practice eco-friendly techniques as well as future-proof your home by using technologies that evolve with it. Using eco-friendly technologies helps both the environment and your wallet. Future-proofing technologies don’t have to be fancy; sometimes they’re as simple as using a protective film on your windows or changing out an outlet. Following these tips can prepare your home for the future, save you money and even help save the environment from the outside in.
One of the easiest ways to conserve energy in your home is by regulating your air conditioning. Smart thermostats have improved modern home energy efficiency tremendously by allowing the homeowner access to its systems from anywhere in the world via smartphone or tablet. This technology continues to advance with the development of products such as Ecovent. Ecovent aims to give you even more control over the energy used in your home by monitoring the temperature in every room through sensors that plug into your standard electrical outlets.
“Rooms are too hot or too cold, regardless of what temperature the thermostat is set to. The problem is compounded when you consider how many unused rooms in a home are heated and cooled — wasting more energy and money,” says Dip Patel, co-founder and CEO of Ecovent.
Ecovent can help save money and energy by only heating and cooling the rooms that you use regularly. “With Ecovent, homeowners have the ability to control the temperature of each room individually through the app, saving energy and money by heating and cooling only the rooms that are needed.” Ecovent will work with smart thermostats like Nest, though if you do not have a compatible wireless thermostat, the company does offer the ability to order one when ordering the Ecovent system.
To help with home heating and cooling regulation, homebuilders often recommend upgrading your windows. This may seem a little low-tech to really be high-tech, but we’ve found the window films from 3M do just the trick without having to plug in or replace your windows entirely. A representative from 3M states that “3M window films can cut up to 30 percent of a building or home’s cooling cost and reject 99 percent of harmful UV rays that can damage furnishings and carpet without changing the exterior look of a home.”
Window films work by reducing hot spots in your home, so your cooling units don’t have to work harder than necessary, saving energy without using any.
The Smart Outlet from ConnectSense can help you monitor your energy use even while away from home. The Smart Outlet allows you to access the individual plug from the convenience of your smartphone. This technology pairs with the Apple Homekit to make your user experience that much easier.
How does the Smart Outlet work?
“The ConnectSense Smart Outlet features two Internet-connected electrical sockets that enable users to control devices plugged into them using an iPhone app or by voice command via Siri,” according to Adam Justice, vice president of Grid Connect, parent company of ConnectSense. Control when your kids can play video games or watch TV with the Smart Outlet and even turn off appliances that plug into the wall all from the comfort of your smartphone.
As homeowners think about home safety more and more, smart technologies are providing an increasing array of options. In the 2015 State of the Smart Home Report by iControl Networks, the company behind the software of smart-home technologies such as ADT Pulse and Xfinity, 65 percent of people surveyed said they would like to have home monitoring cameras.
True to form, iControl Networks delivered with its home monitoring product Piper. Piper is a home security system that works through your Wi-Fi to keep you connected to your home at all times. Receive alerts to suspicious activities, loud sounds and opened doors — all from your smartphone. You can also check up on your pets and speak to your kids from another room or even across town, ensuring their safety wherever you are.
When thinking of being eco-friendly, we usually think about making changes inside of our homes, but what about making changes outside? With several areas of the United States having been in a severe drought for several years, how do we keep our yards lush and green while preserving water at the same time? Enter the Rain Machine, the first home irrigation system that monitors the weather so you don’t worry about wasting water while maintaining your “yard of the week” status, even while you’re away.
The RainMachine connects to your Wi-Fi and monitors current weather predictions to make sure you don’t accidentally water your yard in the morning only to have it rain that afternoon. We contacted Andrei Bulucea, chief technology officer of Green Electronics, producer of the RainMachine, for more information.
“This weather-aware sprinkler system is the first forecast-oriented sprinkler controller,” she says. “The RainMachine harnesses big data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other satellite services to deliver just the right amount of water to up to 16 zones in your garden. It is ideal for micro-managers or gardeners who are gone for weeks at a time.”
Alexis Breitkreutz is a Digital Marketing Intern for New Home Source.