As the technology improves and society becomes more concerned about the environment, the options for living in a comfortable and energy efficient home continue to grow. There are so many new gadgets and materials that are energy efficient and increasingly affordable for consumers who desire living in eco homes.
Tesla always seems to be coming out when something new and incredible. The Powerwall is just hitting the scene and it does not seem like it will disappoint. This home battery charges using solar-generated electricity, or charges itself when not much energy is being used. The battery then powers your home during the evening hours when sunlight is no longer available. It doubles as a backup power supply that will kick in should your house have an outage. This compact and easy-to-install device is sure to start showing up in a lot more energy efficient homes in 2016.
Affordable Solar Panels
While solar panels have been around for quite some time, most consumers couldn’t afford the initial investment. However, prices have lowered significantly over the past few years. Furthermore, some great green energy tax credits now offer a 30% rebate on solar electricity and solar water heating. If you live in a sunny area, this investment will pay for itself in about 6-10 years in electricity savings or as little as 2 years in water heating savings.
Smart Power Strips
Everything else is smart, so why not your power strips? Households tend to have a lot of things plugged in around the clock, even when they are not in use. In recent years, studies have shown that powered-down electronics such as televisions and computers, and appliances like toasters and coffee makers are still sucking up power even when not in use. Of course, no one wants to have to unplug their TV every time they finish a show, so you are kind of stuck between wasting electricity or being inconvenienced by having to squirm your way to hard-to-reach outlets all the time. Smart power strips take care of that problem by allowing you to keep things plugged in, but shutting off all power when the electronic device is not in use. That means you can leave your cell phone charger plugged in indefinitely without ever having to worry about wasting electricity!
Low VOC paints
VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds are to blame for that overwhelming chemical smell left behind by paint. While you may only suffer through the smell for a day, high VOC content paints continue to release harmful chemicals into the air years after the paint has dried. Low VOC paints are now widely available and much closer in price to their higher-VOC content counterparts. Now you can paint your home without inhaling the harsh smell or worry about harming your overall air quality in your home for years to come.
LED lighting options
LEDs (light emitting diodes) have been around for a while, but much like solar panels, they were originally too expensive for the average consumer to afford. They also had a lot of usage limitations, so it was difficult to outfit your entire home in these extremely energy efficient bulbs. Now, LEDs are available in a wide variety of different shapes, colors, and brightness levels, so you can use them in everything from holiday lights to kitchens and bathrooms. An old fashioned incandescent bulb runs at 40-60 watts per lumen, Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) run at 13-15, but LEDs blow them both out of the water with only 4-6 watts per lumen. LEDs also last around 50,000 hours while CFLs last for about 8,000 and incandescent bulbs a measly 1,200.
It’s a very exciting time in green construction and energy efficient technology. As technology becomes more advanced and affordable, homeowners will have a easier time saving energy and decreasing their carbon footprint without sacrificing comfort.