Top 10 Green Technologies for the Home


1
Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat remembers to control your HVAC system, so that you don't have to.
A programmable thermostat remembers to control your HVAC system, so that you don't have to.
Hemera/Thinkstock

Do you remember to turn the heat down at bedtime or bump the thermostat up before you leave for work, so you're not cooling an empty house? A programmable thermostat remembers to control your HVAC system, so that you don't have to. It can also help you save on heating and cooling without sacrificing comfort.

There are a few different sorts of programmable thermostat, but they all work in basically the same way. You tell the system when to adjust the temperature, and it does all of the work. The type of programmable thermostat you need depends on your schedule. There are three options:

  • 7-day – This is the most expensive type, but you can have different schedules set up for every day of the week.
  • 5+2-day – You can set two schedules: one on Monday to Friday and one for the weekend.
  • 5-1-1 – This one has three schedules: Monday to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday [source: Energy Star]

Installing a programmable thermostat can be pretty simple, depending on what your wiring is like now. A battery-powered progammable thermostat is simple to install if your current thermostat has two wires feeding into it. If you have three wires, you may need an electrician to do the installation [source: Marques]. Remember: Before messing with your thermostat, turn the power off at the breaker!

Author's Note: Top 10 Green Technologies for the Home

I am a stickler for conserving energy and water in our house, so researching this article was sort of like a dream shopping trip for me. I'm constantly turning off lights in rooms we aren't using and unplugging "wall warts" -- cell phone chargers and other small energy vampires -- from the outlets in our house. My husband may or may not sometimes call me "energy cop." Of course, I know that this comes from a place of love.

Our home doesn't have any fancy alternative energy-saving gadgets or monitoring gizmos right now, but my dream home would definitely be decked out with all of the green home technology in this list! For now, my husband and I have opted for more DIY energy- and water-saving solutions. He and his dad installed a pair of rain barrels to water our garden, and we've got smart power strips in pretty much every room of the house. I'm so nerdy about green technology that I called my mom the day we replaced our existing toilet with a dual flush.

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Sources

  • Bottero, Kiva. "How to Pick the Riht Wind Turbine for Your Property." Wind Power Authority. December 30, 2011. (April 17, 2012) http://windpowerauthority.com/how-to-pick-the-right-wind-turbine/
  • Consumer Energy Center. "Central HVAC." California Energy Commission. (April 2, 2012) http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/heating_cooling/heating_cooling.html
  • Ellis, Michael. "Home Energy Management Takes Center Stage at CES 2012." Greenbiz.com. Jan 17, 2012. (April 2, 2012) http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/01/17/home-energy-management-takes-center-stage-ces-2012
  • The Energy Conscious. "Dual Flush Technology" (April 17, 2012) http://www.theenergyconscious.com/duflbasa.html
  • Energy Savers. "Benefits of Geothermal Heat Pump Systems." U.S. Department of Energy. February 9, 2011. (April 2, 2012) http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12660
  • http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=12850
  • Energy Star. "Heat & Cool Efficiently." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (April 2, 2012) http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_hvac
  • Energy Star. "Refrigerators for Consumers." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (April 2, 2012) http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=about.ab_index
  • Energy Star. "Which programmable thermostat is right for me?" U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (April 2, 2012) http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=thermostats.pr_thermostats_features
  • General Electric. "nucleus." (April 2, 2012) http://www.geappliances.com/home-energy-manager/
  • Liscano, Miguel. "Rooftop solar, backyard wind turbines catching on in the suburbs." Statesman.com. July 3, 2011. (April 2, 2012) http://www.statesman.com/news/local/rooftop-solar-backyard-wind-turbines-catching-on-in-1579685.html
  • Marques, Lance. "How to Install a Programmable Thermostat." (April 2, 2012) http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20339398,00.html
  • Pandolfi, Keith. "Solar Shingles." This Old House. (April 2, 2012) http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1205726,00.html
  • Reichman, Trevor. "Trusty Old Robots vs. Energy Star Appliances." Treehugger. July 26, 2009. (April 2, 2012) http://www.treehugger.com/culture/trusty-old-robots-vs-energy-star-appliances.html
  • Roberts, Jeanne. "GE Home Energy Monitor Goes it Alone." Earth Techling. March 15, 2012. (April 2, 2012) http://www.earthtechling.com/2012/03/ge-home-energy-monitor-goes-it-alone/
  • Shahan, Zachary. "Over 70% of Calufornians Go Solar Using a Service (Don't Buy Their Solar Power Systems)" CleanTechnica. March 28, 2012. (April 2, 2012) http://cleantechnica.com/2012/03/28/over-70-of-californians-go-solar-using-a-service-dont-buy-their-solar-power-systems/
  • U.S. Energy Information Administration. "How is electricity used in U.S. homes?" February 22, 2012. (April 2, 2012) http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=96&t=3
  • WaterSense. "Indoor Water Use in the United States." (April 2, 2012) http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/indoor.html

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