As the costs of energy, fuel and consumption rise, consumers are becoming more aware of the need to be conservative. To save money, time and resources, we’re starting to make a shift towards green technology.
These days, everything is becoming smart to pair up with smartphones and tablets. The idea behind the term “smart” is that it becomes more self-aware and convenient. Consider a smart thermostat that automatically regulates indoor air temperatures – and the air conditioning system – to save money and energy.
What about a smart pool-heating system that only activates when the weather is chilly and you’re going to use it?
These technologies do already exist, believe it or not. We’re going to take a look at the three best technologies that will help you save a ton of money by conserving energy.
1. A Smart or High-Tech Thermostat
One of the first devices that comes to mind when talking about a high-tech thermostat is the Nest Learning Thermostat from Nest Labs. Keep in mind, however, this is not the only device of its kind on the market. There are others and they all achieve the same thing.
The idea behind a thermostat like this is that it can use collected data to make better decisions when it comes to energy consumption. It sounds funny describing a piece of technology that can make decisions, but it’s true. It’s much more efficient than people who likely change the thermostat at will at random times.
The Nest, for instance, uses a wide variety of hardware and data from sensors, cloud computing, specific algorithms and more to appropriately adjust the temperature in a home. Over time, it learns your habits and stores this data to not only automate the process, but also to better regulate it.
If you have a habit of turning the A/C down at night, but often forget to revert it when you wake up in the morning, the Nest will address this for you. It takes into account your schedule, weather patterns, time of day and in some cases even your location – it can adjust the temperature to a comfortable level when you’re on your way home from work.
Some may consider the entry price of $249 a little high, since the Nest is almost as expensive as the smartphone you carry in your pocket. However, estimates show that the device could potentially reduce your energy bill by up to 30% each year – based on the average U.S. bill of $1,000 – which means eventually the device will pay for itself.
It works with both iOS and Android devices, and the Nest platform is continually being updated to offer more advanced features and better software optimization. Again, there are alternatives from companies like Ecobee, Honeywell and more.
2. Self-Driving Cars
A form of technology that’s on the rise as of late is self-driving cars. Once they’re more prevalent on the road, they will save vehicle owners tons of money by cutting back on fuel consumption, and they can also save lives by severely reducing the risk of accidents. You could even argue they’ll save money in that way too, since accidents cost a lot of money, further improving their financial impact.
Initially, it might seem like a scary prospect that our roads may one day be filled with driverless vehicles, but the truth is that a large majority of accidents and problems are caused by human error. The Eno Center for Transportation estimates that self-driving cars may one day reduce vehicle-related injuries by as much as 90%, resulting in $450 billion in annual savings. In addition, this will reduce the number of accidents caused by human error right along with the 40% of wrecks caused by drugs, alcohol, distractions like texting and driving or even fatigue.
How does it work? Without delving too far down the rabbit hole, a computer system automates the driving process and controls the vehicle through a series of measurements. It factors in its current location, speeds, external parties and other vehicles, pedestrians and much more before taking action. It is constantly assessing the road in that respect.
A driverless vehicle can detect the fastest routes of travel, avoid accidents and road hazards and even prevent potential oncoming danger – a computer is much better at analyzing data on the fly. Someday, a driverless vehicle may even save your life a hundred times over.
3. Automated Lighting
For years, we’ve been told that switching everything to LED will help save money and preserve energy. While that’s true, it doesn’t help as much as automating the entire system.
Most of us leave lights on in the home while we’re away on vacation. It could be a light on the porch, inside the home or even somewhere in your yard. Think of how much energy that light is using over time. Now imagine if you could automate that light so that it turns on at a certain time of day – like when the sun sets – and turn off later?
It’s this kind of automation that can help you save money and reduce energy consumption.
Better yet, you can add a unique switch to each light that allows you to control them via a smartphone or tablet app. Of course, there are other manufacturers that offer similar technology.
This can help you conserve energy in many ways, the most important of which is through the same use of big data as the rest of the tech on this list. Want an example? Imagine a light switch that knows when you enter the room – thanks to an app on your smartphone – and turns on the light when you enter and off again when you leave, automatically. Now that would truly be something, wouldn’t it?