At first, you may not think technology is very eco-friendly, but emerging trends in smart home tech are looking to turn that around. Not only is home automation an effective way to reduce your home’s energy and resource usage, it can also cut down on utility and maintenance costs. Here are a few simple tech ideas you should consider for your home if you’re looking to reduce stress both on the environment and on your bank account.

1. Smart Thermostats

In 2016, space heating and cooling together made up 25 percent of total U.S. residential energy consumption. By optimizing your home’s thermal regulation with smart thermostats, you can reduce both your energy consumption and expenses in the largest section of your utility bill. Smart thermostats work by linking your heating and cooling systems to automated or programmable settings. These settings are Wi-Fi-enabled and can be controlled via your personal device, meaning you can schedule their activation. Alternatively, you can automate them by linking them to zone sensors that activate only when someone enters a room. Most smart thermostats will also log their activation history, so you can better understand your energy usage.

2. Smart Lights

After space cooling and water heating, lighting takes up the next largest chunk of energy consumption, at roughly 9 percent. Smart lighting comes in a variety of forms, so you can choose what works for you. Like smart thermostats, smart lighting systems can be linked to occupancy sensors, so they automatically turn on when you enter a room and turn off when you leave. They can also be linked to daylight sensors, which will dim or brighten your lamps based on environmental light. A simple alternative is to use a smart bulb, which works just like any other bulb, but comes with a remote that lets you control the brightness of your light without having to set up a sensor system.

3. Smart Fridges

Like smart thermostats and lights, smart refrigerators automatically regulate their temperature, which reduces energy waste in keeping your food crisp. There are a lot of side perks to smart fridges as well, including their ability to automatically track your food stock and expiration dates through barcodes or RFID scanning. This reduces the chance of you forgetting about something on a back shelf and letting it go to waste. The main benefit of upgrading your refrigerator, however, is that not only are manufacturers making fridges more energy efficient, they are also working to replace the CFCs and HFCs (insulating foams that contribute to global warming) with more environmentally friendly options in newer appliances.

4. Motion Detectors and Occupation Sensors

Motion detectors, occupation sensors and environmental sensors can be applied beyond the temperature and lighting regulations of your home. You can also link them to kitchen and cleaning appliances, entertainment systems, security systems and water systems in order to monitor and reduce waste throughout your entire house. Home automation products have grown from basic options to increasingly creative and innovative solutions, and are expected to continue to evolve, getting ever more useful, efficient and accessible. Market analysts predict that smart home tech will be worth billions of dollars in the next few years. Make sure to take stock of all the resource-consuming appliances and systems spread throughout your house and consider which might be beneficial to automate in your specific situation.

5. Smart Home Hubs

Smart home hubs are devices designed to network and monitor all the home automation systems you may have installed in a single place. They are the control center for signals and instructions sent and received by your sensors, devices and activation switches, and they even work with home tech products made by different manufacturers. If you’ve decided to dive into the deep end of smart home tech, installing a home hub will streamline your control over your different systems.

Whether you want to save on your utility costs or create a more environmentally friendly home for you and your loved ones, home automation is an excellent option to consider. If this is your first exposure to smart home tech, it may seem expensive and complicated. However, with an exploding market and constant development, home automation will only become increasingly affordable and easy to use.

Read More:
Dialing in Home Comfort: Which Smart Thermostat Is Right for You?
3 Reasons Why You Should Try Home Automation
5 Smart Garden Products for the Techy Gardener

By Maricel Tabalba

Maricel Tabalba is a freelance writer who enjoys learning about and researching the latest gadgets, smart home tech and sustainable tips. She earned her bachelor of arts in English with a minor in communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.