It’s one of the most exciting and deeply satisfying milestones of anyone’s life: buying that first home. It’s that feeling of coming home to a piece of land, plus some concrete, wood, and nails, and knowing that you’re in your own little piece of heaven.
Our generation is probably one of the most environmentally-conscious ever, so before you take out that housing loan, you’ll want to see these gadgets that can help your house stay green. Not only will you help the environment, you’ll also be saving money.
The Energy Hub keeps track of your entire house’s energy consumption with a nifty little touchscreen device. Information is power: knowing which appliances are energy-vampires will help you make informed choices. This device also controls your appliances one by one or your entire house as a whole, so saving energy is more efficient and less of a pain.
Controls can also be accessed on your smartphone through the Internet, and can even provide real-time tracking and updates with your utility company.
You can even set up your own “welcoming committee” with this baby: put it to “sleep” when you leave the house and set it to turn on the lights and air conditioning or heater for when you arrive. Living alone has never been so welcoming.
This gadget is available for around $250.
A much cheaper alternative is the handheld Kill a Watt. See what they did there? Just plug it into any appliance, like your fridge, PC, or even Xbox One, and it’ll give you a readout of how much energy, or wattage, it consumes. It will also calculate your energy expenses by the day, week, month, or even the whole year.
The large LCD display and ergonomic design makes it convenient to use, and the $27 price tag doesn’t hurt, either.
Nest Labs, put up by the iPod’s designers, brings the Nest Learning Thermostat, which learns your household’s habits and stores the data. It then combines that information with weather forecasts and adjusts the temperature accordingly. All these it does using advanced sensors, cloud computing, and algorithms.
As expected from the iPod’s designers, this thermostat isn’t just smart: its sleek design makes it easy on the eyes. The whole package, or beauty and brains, you might say.
For a thermostat, this is a little bit pricey at $249, but Nest assures us it’s worth it. Over a year, it can help reduce the average U.S. energy bill of $1,000 by up to 30% or $300. Nest says thermostats consume up to 10% of total U.S. energy.
According to Tony Eadell, CEO and founder of Nest Labs, the Nest Learning Thermostat solves a fundamental household problem: the need for an easier solution for controlling home heating. He cites one customer who saved $100 in just one month, simply by being able to adjust the temperature when people were away from home or sleeping.
Voltaic’s 16.8-Watt Solar Charger Kit offers an alternative source for charging your gadgets. At $130, this is a good first step towards making solar energy work for you. The V60 battery will charge anything from phones, laptops, and cameras. You can also pair it with a car charger socket and camera cradle to charge your camera batteries even faster.
At over three-quarters of a kilo (or 26.8 ounces) and just under 16×11 inches, this kit isn’t exactly something you’d carry around everyday, but it’s lightweight enough to carry in a backpack. This is especially useful for keeping in touch with loved ones during emergencies, or bringing backup power when you’re trekking to remote places.
The shower is another culprit in sucking time and energy, not to mention water. Never fear, because the Efergy Shower Timer and Alarm is here. This little gadget is basically a timer you can calibrate with your shower. Its makers recommend allowing no more than four minutes for your morning cleanup. That sounds a little too short, but trust me, it’s long enough if you’re aware and if you’ve had practice. Of course, you can take baby steps and set it to longer at first.
A visual countdown and digital clock display will help you keep track of how much time you still have, and a lanyard and suction cup will secure it under your showerhead. The alarm will go off when you’ve reached your limit, although it won’t turn off the shower for you.
Buying a house is a big commitment, but with careful planning—and by going green on your home—you’re assured that your resources are maximised. That’ll be one less thing you’ll have to worry when you start paying off utilities and your housing loan every month.
Author: Cristina Beltran is a writer, blogger and online marketing specialist at Compare Hero, Malaysia’s leading online comparison portal. Tina is also a freelance writer she worked as an information researcher before she pursued her writing career.