Today's modern appliances are smarter than ever. Our kitchens might not look like something out of the Jetsons quite yet, and there's still no Rosie around to cook and clean, but the latest appliances are designed to save energy and simplify our lives. LG's products from the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show perfectly illustrate the trend in appliances: Its SmartGrid refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines all tie into a smart meter to be as energy efficient as possible. Smart meters are essentially electrical meters that gather real-time data and can communicate with devices to provide useful power data. With that data, LG's smart appliances can determine energy rates and automatically run when electricity rates are at their lowest [source: Danko].
New appliances are also incorporating the technology we're used to seeing in dedicated computer systems -- LG's smart refrigerator uses an LCD screen to help you organize and inventory the refrigerated food, for example. By programming in the expiration dates, you can have the fridge notify you when food's going bad -- and your entire grocery inventory is available on a mobile device like a smart phone, essentially giving you an omnipresent shopping list based on what you already have in stock [source: Danko].
Still, the improvements in energy efficiency are what make smart appliances a fantastic green technology. They're one small part of our final eco-friendly element of construction, which takes elements from nearly everything we've talked about and combines them into one super green design: the zero energy home.