Earlier this year, Google announced its $3.2 billion cash purchase of Nest Labs Inc., best known for its smart thermostat and smoke alarm for residences. If Google is headed in the direction of smart home services, rest assured this trend isn’t going away anytime soon.
Want your home to stand out as an energy-saving, tech-savvy gem? Consider adding one or more of these features:
1. Programmable energy saversThe pros at Consumer Reports say programmable thermostats can slash your energy bill by about $180 per year by automatically reducing your heating or cooling when you need it least. The Nest Learning Thermostat takes this concept a step further by learning your schedule and programming itself to raise and lower temperatures according to your routines. Not only will you be saving money, the next family to live in your home can also enjoy the financial benefits of a smart thermostat.
2. Smart lightingForget to turn off the lights when you leave a room? That simple failure to flip the switch can definitely affect your energy bill. Companies are beginning to offer “smart lighting” options, which allows you to control your home’s lighting via computer or mobile. “Connected” by TCP offers a starter pack that includes three bulbs, a remote and a gateway that controls your lighting. The home lighting kit works with both iPhone and Android devices, so you can easily control your LED lights at home or on the go.
3. Fiber-optic technologyWhen it comes to cable and Internet, fiber-optic technology is a green alternative to traditional coaxial copper wires because it is more energy efficient, lasts longer and is safer because the cables produce less heat. With more and more smart devices operating at the same time in your home – not counting your tablets, laptops and gaming consoles – you’ll probably notice a serious drain on your Internet connection if you’re using broadband Internet from cable, DSL or satellite providers.
Fiber-optic Internet technology gives you the capacity for greater Internet speeds – meaning you can have more wireless and smart devices in your home operating simultaneously with little to no effect on your online activities. The largest providers in the country are Verizon FiOS, Google Fiber and AT&T U-verse — but they have limited service areas. If your neighborhood is serviced by one of these providers, it’s a definite selling point.