Some small changes in your home can have a big impact on the environment.
It takes a lot of energy to power our increasingly high-tech homes. Unfortunately, we waste a lot of it due to inefficiency and bad habits, from leaving the lights on to letting the air conditioner run.
Smart home technology makes our lives more convenient—but you can also use it to create a more sustainable, eco-friendly household.
Here are some small changes you can make in your home that can have a big impact on the environment.
If every home in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with an energy-efficient alternative, Americans could save enough energy to light three million homes for a whole year. — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1. Smart thermostats
Heating and cooling account for over half of a household's energy use. A smart thermostat lets you set the system to run only when someone is home.
2. Smart lighting systems
Whether you forget to turn off the lamp or tend to make the room brighter than necessary, smart lights and dimmers can reduce wasted electricity.
3. Smart power strips
TVs and computers are energy sponges, even when they're not running. Smart power strips sense when you're not using them and know to turn off the electrical current.
If all U.S. households installed water-conserving devices, Americans would use 30% less water—roughly 5.4 billion gallons per day. — U.S. Geological Survey Water Census
1. Smart irrigation systems
This device connects to your sprinkler, monitors the weather forecast, and only runs when needed. It can cut your outdoor water use in half.
2. Smart water-monitoring systems
Aside from damaging your home, a burst pipe or leaky washer can also waste a ton of water. This gadget can detect a leak and alert you as soon as it happens.
3. Smart shower heads
These fixtures let you track water use via an app. They also let you slow the flow of water when you move away from the shower head or shut off the flow once the water is hot instead of continuing to run until you get in.
Recycling one million laptop computers can save enough energy to run 3,500 homes in the U.S. for a year. — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1. Electronics-recycling centers
The average American household has 24 devices. Over time, that translates to a lot of electronic waste, which releases toxic chemicals that damage the atmosphere and seep into our groundwater. Recycling your old gadgets is an eco-friendly alternative to throwing them in the trash—use this directory to find a certified electronics recycling location near you. And don't forget to delete the data on your devices before you get rid of them.
You can usually find a local charity that would be happy to take your used device. One good option is your local Goodwill® store. The non-profit works with Dell® Reconnect to recycle household electronics.
Many retailers have recycling programs, and they may even pay you for your gadgets. Contact your device's manufacturer or find a retailer on the EPA's website.
Monitor energy levels
If you're not sure where to start to make your household more eco-friendly, a Home Energy Monitor can help. This device shows you how much energy your home uses and gives you information about how to make it more efficient. You can learn more about energy monitors here.