Slash your water consumption, cut unnecessary power usage and convert some of your gadgets to renewable energy with twelve affordable home gadgets ranging from a shower timer to a multi-door refrigerator. Making changes at home, one step at a time, can reduce your utility bills and lead to a much more eco-friendly household.
The Kill-A-Watt is a simple plug-in gadget that encourages you to stop wasting power by showing you how much each appliance in your home is costing you per month. Just connect these appliances – like refrigerators, fans, televisions and microwaves – into the Kill-A-Watt EZ, and a large LCD display will tell you how much energy it’s consuming. This will help you identify so-called energy vampires, which continue to suck power not in use, and empower you to make smart decisions about the items you buy for your home.
Solar Charger Kit
You could be charging your laptop, tablet or phone with a solar charging kit that costs as little as $161. The Solar Charging Kit by Voltaic is rugged, lightweight and waterproof, with an output of 16.8 watts at 18 volts. Additional cables to charge gadgets like cameras are also available.
Saving water in the shower doesn’t have to mean giving up a luxurious feel. Evolve shower heads restrict the flow of water, but integrated technology makes it hard to tell. The Roadrunner II model saves about eight gallons of water for every five-minute shower.
Motion-Sensor Light Switches
You’ll never forget to turn the light off when you leave a room again once you’ve installed motion-sensing light switches like these ones from Lutron. Lights automatically turn on when you enter, and ‘proprietary sensing technology’ ensures that they’ll stay on while the room is occupied (even if your’e staying still.) Perfect for those times when your arms are loaded down with laundry.
Thermal Leak Detector
Are you losing valuable heat through power outlets and other hidden areas of your home? A thermal leak detector like this one from Black & Decker detects wall surface temperature, with an LED sensor that lights up at hot or cold spots. Addressing these hidden leaks could save you up to 20% on heating and cooling costs.
Control the temperature of your home from absolutely anywhere via your smartphone or computer with a wi-fi enabled thermostat. Honeywell’s version will alert you to temperature swings, and features 7-day programming with four program periods per day that can be scheduled as you like. It comes with a free app, and can even auto-detect whether your home needs heating or cooling.
Replace an energy-hogging sound system with eco-friendly speakers that can work with your television, stereo or portable device like an iPhone or iPod. This cool iPod dock made of bamboo is one of many options available, and it’s about as low-tech as it gets – with surprising sound quality.
Shower Timer and Alarm
Make your shower even greener by adding a timer and alarm. This low-cost, easy to use, battery-operated shower timer lets you monitor the amount of water you’re using each time you take a shower. It can easily be calibrated to your particular showered using an included bag that measures the flow of water.
Squeezing extra water out of your clothes with a spin dryer for just two minutes could save you thirty minutes in a clothes dryer. Along with refrigerators, clothes dryers are some of the biggest energy wasters in an average household. Spin dryers like the Spin-X use centrifugal force to remove lots of water, fast, saving about $370 per year in electricity.
How much energy do you waste every time you open the refrigerator door? Plenty, especially if you’re just mindlessly staring at the contents, trying to figure out what you want to eat. A multi-door refrigerator could help control that problem by keeping different types of food in separate compartments. This Samsung model features energy-saving LED lighting, too.
Philips L Prize LED Lights
Winner of the L-Prize, the first U.S. government-sponsored technology competition that challenges lighting manufacturers to push the limits of energy efficiency, Philips’ LED bulb offers the brightest light possible for the least amount of energy, with a life of 30,000 hours at 70 percent brightness. It’s made to have a warm cast closely resembling daylight. It turns on instantly, and is dimmable. LED lights use at least 70% less energy than incandescent lighting.
Tripp Lite Eco Power Strip
Using power strips for gadgets like computers is always a good idea, since it protects them from power surges. But get one like the Tripp Lite, and you’ll enjoy an extra benefit: energy savings. This power strip will cut off appliances when they’re not in use.