With summer underway, the demand for water and power is rising and with this increase comes the large price of utility costs. To save some money and use less energy, your home can now be equipped with smart devices that control every appliance you use, providing exceptional financial and energy-saving benefits, as well as a sound investment that can yield savings year after year.
Smart Thermostat from alarm.com
The Smart Thermostat is a programmable thermostat with two amazing additional features. First, alarm.com synchronizes the thermostat with their Geo-Services application, which automatically generates adjustable thermostat profiles for the weather conditions in your specific location. Second, Smart Thermostat is accessible from your phone or internet device with real-time statistics, so you can track your usage and control the thermostat from anywhere—never leave the air conditioner on when you leave for vacation ever again!
Apple Watch and the HomeKit
Speaking of home appliances controlled remotely, Apple now offers the HomeKit which allows you to control any enabled appliance from your Apple Watch. This dynamic system can start your oven before you get home, send an alert when your refrigerator door is left open, or even turn off your hot water heater while you are out. The HomeKit also synchronizes with enabled light bulbs and power strips, so you won’t have to waste any power you aren’t using.
Eva Smart Shower
We all know that bathing consumes a fair amount of water and energy but it is difficult to accurately time your shower to make optimal use of these resources. Many of us also take the time to adjust the water temperature so that it is just right. The Eva Smart Shower is a water-saving device that controls the temperature using a thermostat, so your water is always to your liking. In addition, you can set a shower alarm to remind you when your shower is going on too long and it tracks your conservation over time, giving you immediate feedback on the performance of your settings.
Advances in LED technology have come a long way to giving us responsive, full-spectrum, energy-efficient light bulbs with amazing longevity (+50,000 hours is standard). The ilumi LED bulb includes a smart monitor and transceiver to control the intensity, spectrum, and schedule of your lighting systems from your mobile device. As mentioned above, the Apple HomeKit also enables you to control ilumi lights from your Apple Watch.
Birdi Smart Air Monitor
During the summer, air quality is also a health concern in many areas. The Birdi Smart Air Monitor is an efficient smart device that monitors the concentration of an extensive list of of air pollutants in your home including carbon monoxide, pollen, soot and dust particles, and smoke. It doubles as a fire alarm and will notify you in response to emergency and non-emergency situations—no more low battery chirping!
With all these technologies, it is possible to become even more wealthy and healthy this summer, all while saving the environment. According to both epa.gov and albertaenergyproviders.ca, reducing your energy consumption and being more aware of how you choose to spend it can definitely help in reducing your carbon footprint in addition to saving money. Want to tally your savings towards a goal? Try tracking your savings with the online smart piggy bank, SmartyPig. Like other smart technologies, SmartyPig allows you to set up a profile with your goals and implements a plan to achieve them. Then, you know how much you are saving and what that increased purchasing power can do for your future.
Maria Ramos is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.
Today’s guest post by David Glenn.
Your living room is one of the main areas of your home, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the first rooms that many people look to start sprucing up. If you’re one of the many people who hold back from creating the space of their dreams because they feel like they’ll never be able to afford it, there are options. If you have ideas but feel like you have no money to do it with, start a dedicated fund to help get you there.
Smarty Pig is a service that allows you to start a savings for the projects you want to do. Aside from Smarty Pig, you can check with your home warranty company to see if they offer any assistance in your home projects. Now that you know you can afford it, consider one of these 5 ideas to spruce up your room and create a space that you never want to leave.
1. Install a sliding barn door
Sliding barn doors are a brilliant and unique feature that looks great while adding privacy to your living room when wanted. Regular doors take up space when opening and closing that could otherwise be used for furniture or decor, but since sliding doors slide along the wall, you are able to have maximum functionality whether the door is open or closed and create privacy.
Since sliding barn doors are becoming so popular, the supplies are easier than ever to find and you can install it yourself with no problem. The door slides along an upper track above the doorway and rests along the wall when opened. You can find the supplies for your door at almost any home improvement store.
2. Add a feature wall
If you want to add a “Wow” element to your living room, consider adding elements to the main wall in your living room to make the whole space pop. This can easily be done using wallpaper, wall murals, or even wall decals. If you’re handy with a brush, tape off your own design and paint over it for a feature that can only be found in your home.
If you still want results without painting or altering the wall, you can create a visually appealing space by hanging a bunch of mirrors or pictures along the wall. If you want a feature wall that doesn’t require a bunch of work, consider just painting one wall a coordinating but different color from the others.
3. Create an indoor oasis
Adding house plants to your living room is a great way to bring nature and beauty in without having to renovate or rearrange anything. According to NASA’s Clean Air study, indoor houseplants circulate and clean the air in your home, which can reduce breathing problems and filter any issues that may keep you wheezing.
Aside from the clean air aspect, house plants can alleviate stress and make your living room more peaceful to be in for both you and your guests. If you don’t have much of a green thumb, you could always bring in artificial plants in areas of your living room. Although you won’t get the clean air that you will from the real plants, your space will look amazing and still add to the oasis look that you were originally going for.
4. Go crazy with textiles
Rugs, pillows, curtains, and blankets are all great ways to add color and dimension to an otherwise drab room. Many people tend to go neutral in these areas, but since they are so easy to switch out, you shouldn’t hesitate to go crazy with prints and patterns. Neutral furniture and walls are a great match to bold accents. Whenever you get tired of these designs, you can simply swap them out for something new with very little effort.
5. Add built in shelving
If your living room lacks the proper storage for everything your busy life brings, built-ins can be a great investment for your space. Consider adding an entire wall of shelves and drawers that can quickly be home to items that seem to be left out a lot.
Add books and decorative elements, as well as photos and drawings for a beautiful space. You can have a custom builder come in and do these, or you can do it yourself with floor to ceiling bookshelves and some crown molding that is painted to match.
Swimming pools, backyard BBQ’s and popsicles; these are the things summer dreams are made of. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and this end occurs in August (or September if you’re lucky.)
Next to the holiday season, back to school shopping is the highest spending annual occasion. It’s something that you should be saving for, especially when you realize that average number is over $600 for the average family of two, K-12 children. SmartyPig is the place to do it. Just $50 a week could you have to that total in no time.
Don’t delay – start today!
Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com
Taking a class on basic money practices or having a degree in finance are great things. But, new studies show that education in those areas is not enough to guarantee a good financial future. “People with a savings account and financial education were significantly more likely to have $2,000 set aside for emergencies than people who had only a financial education.” Notes the team at Bloomberg.com this week. It’s those people that having been saving for things since they were new walkers that have the basic practices within to ensure financial stability.
At SmartyPig we enjoy helping your kids save. Our account features allow for an easy (and safe!) environment for them to save for big ticket items, or even just a few allowance dollars a week. We hope you try it today, if you’re not already.
Wishing you successful saving.
SmartyPig’s “wedding” category is one of our most popular goals and growing drastically each year. The average engagement is just over a year, but the saving for this monumental (and very expensive) day begins immediately. Which is a good thing, because the average wedding costs $23,867 and more than 15% of brides and grooms use their credit cards to cover the entire cost.
SmartyPig is the solution to having this monumental day without the debt.
You can learn from the many successful SmartyPig wedding or honeymoon savers like Steffany or Brianna and Logan. You can own your wedding when the day comes (instead of your credit card company owning it), and using our social networking tools allows your friends and family members to contribute to your goals, like your honeymoon or a down payment on a new home. Wouldn’t that beat a new set of towels?
As grooms take a knee this holiday season, and couples and families everywhere begin saving, please share! We’d love to hear of your success.
Wishing you successful saving.
Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman