These High-Tech Home Gadgets Are Saving The Planet

Photo: Kara Riley

We all know the rules: Use your own shopping bags, recycle or compost what you can, and create as little waste as possible. These are all great ways to start becoming a more conscious consumer, but what about when you want to take eco-friendly living to the next level?

That's where technology can come in. Homeowners are increasingly using artificial intelligence devices to make their homes way greener. Here are a few tech innovations that make it easier and quicker than ever to cut down on your entire home's impact.

Plug your electronics into this:

In 2015, the average U.S. home used almost 11,000 kilowatts of energy per year, or roughly 900 kilowatts a month (second only to China). Additionally, people waste $19 billion annually on appliances and electronics that are turned off or in sleep mode but are still plugged in.

Smart plugs like WeMo can eliminate wasteful power usage by turning lamps and other electronics on and off through an app on your phone. They also allow you to study your energy usage trends to implement positive change. I don’t know about you, but being able to manage my Crock-Pot from my phone sounds like the damn future.

Switch your light bulbs for these:

Electricity from power plants is responsible for 35 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in America, and this rise in emissions has also contributed to increased global warming. Many homeowners have started installing smart lights, like Philips Hue and GE Link bulbs, to decrease demand on the grid (and their wallets) and promote green living.

You control smart lights from your phone, so you can shut them off even when you’re away. Many smart light options also come with monthly reporting so you can learn more about your energy usage and discover ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, you can turn on the lights before you go inside your dark house, which eliminates the need for a stranger-danger check.

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Replace your thermostat with this:

Heating and cooling systems account for almost half of residential energy use in the United States, costing us major money and emissions. Fiddling with older or outdated systems can also wreak havoc on your utility bill since many of them can be unreliable or simply inefficient. To confront this problem, eco-conscious homeowners can use smart thermostats that save at least 10 percent on heating and roughly 15 percent on cooling a year.

Options like Nest’s Learning Thermostat automatically adjust your indoor temperature setting based on outside temperatures and humidity. A lot of smart thermostats will also adjust temperatures depending on the time of day and whether or not you’re home. They, too, report on your energy usage to help you become more efficient.

Get your energy from here:

Since a lot of people don’t have the budget or space for a full solar panel system, they're turning to more fluid options like SmartFlower Solar. These panels are portable, so if trees grow and block an area that was formerly sunny, you won’t have to cut them down to keep your solar charge, and they're up to 40 percent more efficient than stationary rooftop solar panels. Depending on where you live, you can also join a community solar farm to use clean energy without needing to install a thing.

Hook your sprinklers up to this:

American households use about 320 gallons of water per day, and studies show that up to one-third of that goes toward maintaining a lush, green yard. This can be super wasteful—especially in dryer states like Utah and California. Outside of looking into alternatives like AstroTurf or stonescaping, homeowners can use smart irrigation systems to reduce their water waste.

Smart irrigation systems can save up to 8,800 gallons of water per home annually. One example is the Skydrop control system, which is connected to the internet and can stay up to date with local weather forecasts. It knows not to water your lawn during a downpour or right after a storm. It also uses technology to maintain healthy moisture in your soil—not too damp, not too dry, just right. You can even program it to help your specific plants avoid wilting or rotting and absorb proper nutrients.

Here are a few more genius products that can vastly reduce your home's footprint.

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