Innovation

Save money—and the planet—with an eco-friendly smart home

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.

Conserve energy

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.

Save water

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.

Recycle electronics

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
How to recycle electronics

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.

2. Donations

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.

3. Returns

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.

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