If you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint and live in an eco-friendlier way, green technology can help. Green technology refers to the devices, tools, and equipment designed to make our lives more sustainable and help protect the environment. That includes developing alternative fuels, creating recyclable materials, and making energy consumption more efficient. Green technology isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s becoming a mainstay in homes and businesses across the country. But it’s important to understand the impact of our own personal carbon footprint.
Most carbon emissions from the average American family come from energy use, traveling, eating meat-heavy diets, fast fashion, and garbage. If you want to get a sense of what your carbon footprint looks like exactly, you can calculate it here. Knowing just what makes up your carbon footprint can help you find ways to reduce it.
It is, however, safe to say that energy makes up the bulk of carbon emissions.
The UN estimates that electricity, heat, and other energy is responsible for over a third of all greenhouse gas emissions. They also project that households use up 29% of global energy, contributing to 21% of those emissions.
That’s a lot of energy!
What does energy use look like in the home?
Energy use includes using electricity, heating, and cooling your home. It includes any refrigeration or air conditioning, as well as heating the water for that steamy shower.
Smart green technology
Fortunately, smart green technology can help you reduce energy use (and therefore, your carbon footprint). Smart thermostats and other green tech can monitor your energy use and help you reduce it. Many of these devices have automatic sensors to adjust how much energy you’re using or turn off the power when you aren’t using it at all. Many connect to the Internet of Things for real-time energy data on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis.
Let’s explore how you can use green technology in the home to reduce your carbon footprint. You might even be able to reduce your bills in the process. Now that’s a win-win!
The smart thermostat
The first place to start managing your energy use is your HVAC system. The HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system makes up more than half of a household’s annual energy consumption. Smart thermostats can help you cool and heat your home more efficiently. They are also affordable and may even pay for themselves over time. Some estimate that smart thermostats may be able to save you up to 20% on heating and cooling costs.
Smart thermostats connect directly to your HVAC system and then to an internet-connected device, like your smartphone via app. You can often control the smart thermostat entirely from your phone. If you forget to adjust the heat before you leave for the day, you can use the app to adjust your smart thermostat from wherever you are. They are also programmable, so you can set schedules to heat and cool your home.
Some smart thermostats can even learn your habits, automatically adjusting the temperature to your preferences. They do this through sensors and geofencing features, which help them determine if you’re at home or away. If you’re away, your smart thermostat can switch automatically to a more energy-efficient mode. When you’re on the way home, the device will automatically begin running your preferences.
Smart water heater
A smart water heater heats water only when you need it, which can reduce your emissions and help you save on energy costs. Using an app, you can check to see if water is hot and ready to go, track energy usage, and create a heating schedule. This allows you to keep water cool while you’re away from home, and only warm it up when it’s needed.
Smart water heaters can be pretty pricey. If your current water heater still works well and you’re not ready to replace it yet, there are tools you can use to retrofit it. With a smart water heater controller, you can also use an app to control your water heater from the palm of your hand.
Smart light bulbs
Smart light bulbs outpace a regular lightbulb in every way but price. They might cost a little extra upfront, but they make up for it by A. seemingly lasting forever (like 20 years), and B. being energy efficient (75% less energy).
Plus, they’re fun. Since many smart light bulbs include a wide spectrum of color temperatures and hues, you can create custom lighting in your home! For example, you can change your smart light bulb from cool white all the way down to warm and soft lighting. Some smart light bulbs allow you to select hues of light from every color of the rainbow.
Smart light bulbs can be controlled via WiFi, Bluetooth, and apps. Using these tools, you can control lights remotely, create schedules, and set up that custom lighting we talked about. Like smart thermostats, some smart light bulbs also use geofencing to automatically turn lights on or off when you leave or come home.
There’s no shortage of green technology you can use to reduce your carbon emissions at home. And all this smart green tech can really help us reduce our energy use. Chipping away at our carbon footprint little by little can sometimes feel overwhelming or inconsequential, but it’s important to remember that small changes can add up to a big impact. Oh, and one more thing …
Did you know fiber is green?
Compared to copper cables, the materials used to create fiber-optic cables have fewer environmental impacts. Extracting and refining copper ore for copper cables uses up a lot of energy and produces toxic waste, while fiber-optic fibers use less energy to manufacture. Fiber-optic networks transmit data farther, so they need less energy-consuming equipment out in the field. Finally, fiber internet needs less power to run.