Honda recently announced the Honda Smart Home US
, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a high-tech smart home, a result of Honda’s vision for a zero-carbon lifestyle and environmental innovation.
Currently, the standard home consumes a vast amount of energy and the Honda Smart Home aims to greatly reduce energy consumption by featuring new technologies. It will use less than half the energy for heating, cooling and lighting than a similarly sized home that uses traditional fuel.
We’re still a long way off until it becomes a realistic offering for public consumption. So it got us thinking: what technologies are available right now, and can contribute to a greener lifestyle?
In celebration of Earth Day, here are eight of the most popular smart, green gadgets that are available right now.
Programmable/Learning Thermostats: A thermostat is one of the most energy-draining items found in any home, which explains why smart thermostats are such a popular gadget. Smart thermostats conserve energy by moderating your home’s temperature. Some allow you to manually program settings that meet your schedule and preferences, while other thermostats automatically learn your tendencies to moderate the temperature.
Water-Efficient Showerheads: Showers are great, but they also waste a lot of water. Think about all the water you waste as you wait for it to warm up or while you relax. Smart showerheads drastically reduce the amount of water used without ruining the shower experience. Some options can save about eight gallons of water for every five minutes of use! Other smart showerheads come with built-in temperature sensors that ensure you only use water when it’s the perfect temperature.
Light Controls & Switches: Smart light controls help to reduce a home’s day-to-day energy usage. Some options allow users to control their lights remotely, while more advanced options can automatically turn on/off based on the time of day, or even the user’s proximity to the home. Newer light controls can even sense the amount of sunlight.
LED Light Bulbs: Light bulbs can also contribute to a much smaller electricity bill and a healthier environment. LED bulbs have an approximate lifespan of 100,000 hours, compared to only a 5,000 hour lifespan for a conventional bulb, meaning less bulbs thrown away to create waste. They also are about 60 percent more efficient than conventional light bulbs.
Smart Energy Meter & Apps: Smart energy meters are fairly similar to standard meters, but they contain better technology and display the information of your energy-usage in a user-friendly manner. This might not sound like a big deal, but it can be very effective in helping consumers conserve energy. Forbes reports that a 2009 study involving 3,000 electric customers found that 70 percent of participants modified their energy-use behavior, resulting in a 1.8 percent reduction of energy consumption per participant.
Computer Eco-Buttons: Leaving your home or work computer running unused is a waste of energy, even if you’re only gone for a few minutes. This is easily remedied by putting the computer in sleep mode, but many people do not use this feature. However, eco-buttons make it so easy to put your computer to sleep that it can’t be ignored. Simply tap the eco-button and the computer will enter energy saver mode.
Smart Power Strips: Almost every appliance you own continues to use energy even when it’s not in use. This “phantom power drain” can be prevented by always unplugging your devices when you’re not using them, but that’s incredibly inconvenient. Smart power strips eliminate phantom power drains.
Smart Kitchen Appliances: It seems like every kitchen appliance you can think of has been touched by the smart technology bug: smart fridges can suggest recipes based on the contents inside, coffee machines turn on when you wake up and microwaves can cook your food perfectly by reading the barcode on the food package! Smart kitchen appliances can help conserve energy and also help ensure you don’t waste food.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to green smart gadgets and the list will get even longer as technology continues to evolve. We’re getting closer to the reality of a zero-carbon smart home, and there’s no better time to transition towards a greener lifestyle. Get started with one of these gadgets!