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Top technologies to shrink your energy use (and your carbon footprint)

Reducing your carbon footprint and simultaneously saving money is easier than ever with the growth of energy-saving technologies. From LED light bulbs to devices that monitor your appliances to solar panel systems, there are many opportunities to put smart technologies to work saving you energy around your home and lowering your environmental impact each day.

Energy efficiency products

An inexpensive and simple way to cut your energy use at home is to use energy efficient products – products that use energy much more effectively and intelligently to accomplish everyday tasks. For example, by simply replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with efficient LED bulbs around your home, you can dramatically cut your energy usage. LED bulbs use a fraction of the power that traditional bulbs use while providing quality lighting and lasting significantly longer.

Other efficient products like low-flow shower heads and smart power strips can also be installed around your home to reduce energy use from routine activities. A low-flow shower head reduces your water use, therefore lowering the energy consumption and costs associated with heating water. Smart power strips can sense when plugged-in devices are not in use and shut off those outlets to eliminate “vampire load,” the energy your appliances use when they are plugged in but not being directly used.

Smart thermostats

One of the largest monthly expenses for homeowners is climate control. Keeping your home warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and generally comfortable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the whole year consumes tons of energy and contributes to a significant part of your home’s carbon footprint. Smart thermostats provide both fine control and hands-off services to help you reduce your energy use. Almost every smart thermostat can be controlled via a mobile app, making it possible for you raise or lower your home temperature from anywhere with an internet connection. With app functionality, you can “pre-heat” your home before you return after work or even turn off your system remotely to save money and energy. This remote access, among other features, lets you shave down your energy costs around heating and cooling.

Some products, like Nest’s Learning Thermostat, can even learn from your habits and customize your home climate scheduling. After a week of manually changing your thermostat to fit your lifestyle, the Learning Thermostat will begin automatically adjusting temperatures and taking opportunities when it knows you will be out of the house to turn off your climate system and save energy.

If you want to connect your smart thermostat to other smart devices in your home or even control it with your voice, a smart hub or speaker is a great option for your connected home network.

Energy monitors

If you want to understand the inner workings of your home electricity use while simultaneously receiving suggestions for lowering your energy costs, energy monitors are an effective solution. By connecting your energy monitor to your electricity meter, you can get information about the energy use of individual appliances, real-time costs, and direct actions you can take to lower your home energy consumption.

Many energy monitors have mobile and web apps that allow you to see your energy usage from your laptop or smartphone. They can also notify you when an abnormal pattern of energy use is detected, and which appliance might be the culprit. Most importantly, a good energy monitor will provide suggestions and ideas about how to cut back on your home energy usage, helping you lower your carbon footprint while saving money on your electric bill.

Electric vehicles and chargers

One of the most impactful ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to drive an electric vehicle. A car that is powered by electricity produces fewer fossil fuel emissions, and will also cost you less money in the long run.

Driving electric means that you need to regularly charge your car. To make sure you’re never short on driving range, it may make sense to invest in an electric vehicle charging station, also known as an EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment). With an electric vehicle charging station installed in your home, you can recharge your EV overnight, for both a lower price and environmental impact than a conventional gas station visit in a conventional gasoline-powered car.

Solar energy systems

The most effective and lasting way to shrink your home’s carbon footprint is to go solar. By installing a solar energy system on your house, you can begin producing free electricity right from the sun, the most abundant and reliable renewable energy resource we have.

On the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, you can solicit quotes from qualified, pre-vetted installers and compare them side by side. Our installers offer many types of solar installation, and can work with you to customize a perfect home solar solution to meet your energy needs, while cutting down drastically on your carbon footprint.

This post originally appeared on Mother Earth News.


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