Spring is here, and that has all of us feeling a lot greener. After all, it's hard not to think at least a little bit about the environment when you've just watched nature call forth all of her bud-tipped bounty! Green devices offer plenty of ways to celebrate the springtime renewal from the safety of the porch — while cutting the Earth a break at the same time.
Add a Smart Control to Your Fan and Enjoy Porch Season
Higher temperatures can mean bulked-up energy bills. Ceiling fans, in particular, offer a greener way to stay cool in the spring and early summer. A central air conditioning unit can easily gobble up thousands of watts of energy a month, while a ceiling fan usually only uses about a tenth of that energy. Pair your fan with a Z-Wave activated wall-mounted switch that lets you manage your fan right from your smartphone.
Finally Fix Your Thermostat Situation
Speaking of air conditioning bills, there's a good chance yours might go up over the summer, so prepare now by installing a more energy-efficient thermostat. Programmable thermostats get the DOE's vote for energy savings; according to their ENERGY STAR program, you can save up to 10 percent on your electricity bills by setting your thermostat back when you're away. While you're at work, for instance, dial your thermostat up to 78 degrees, and you'll see the difference on your utility payments. Then you can set your smart thermostat to automatically turn down the temperature a half hour before your arrival to make sure your home is cool and comfortable when you open the door. With a smart thermostat, you can truly set it and forget it. Of course, that thermostat will only work well if your AC's doing its part, too, so if your central air conditioner is old and outdated, it may be time to have your old system put out to pasture in favor of a greener, high-SEER AC.
Planning for Smarter Shades
Passive heating and cooling—the kind that doesn't take any electricity — is a really green way to trim your bills come summertime. In fact, energy-efficient window treatments like motorized exterior blinds can significantly reduce solar heat gain, especially when they're installed over south or west-facing windows, and they don't even require a window replacement. They work even better than indoor blinds because they block the sunlight before it enters your home. Manipulating blinds like these without a remote control can be difficult and a lot of motorized shades won't work with your smartphone—at least until now. A Z-Wave motor control turns all of those "dumb" remote-controlled gadgets into technological marvels.
Outdoor Get-Together? Light It Up With the Push of a Button
Milder weather naturally leads to kicking back on the patio, but as day unfolds into evening, who wants to give up their spot in the lawn chair to turn on the lights or start a fire in the fire pit? A smart handheld control can solve at least one of those problems. It lets you remotely turn up to eighteen smart appliances and lights on and off, and group them together to program scenes. Your spring just got a little bit smarter—now, if only you could find a device to decode grandma's secret BBQ sauce recipe!