With two months left, 2016 already has been named the hottest year on record by NASA scientists. Naturally, this news has led to increased concern about the effect we are having on the planet.
There are a variety of proposed solutions to the problem, but they often miss the simple fact: Better technology can lead to a cleaner, greener planet.
Take the average American home, for example. As Americans continue to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT), the home is swiftly becoming a central crossroads of digitized, connected technologies. These items are not just connected solutions that improve our quality of life.
Indeed, IoT-enabled home products deliver significant energy savings and emissions reductions, according to research commissioned by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The research found connected thermostats, heating-ventilation-air conditioning zoning control, window-covering control, occupancy-based lighting and circuit-level control had the energy-savings potential of up to 10% of the total primary energy consumed by U.S. homes in 2015.
At that rate, the savings would equal the energy consumed by about 3 million people, the electricity produced by 250 coal-fired power plants or 56 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
As any homeowner knows, proper thermostat management is a great way to cut down on costs, but even our best efforts can’t compare to those of complex algorithms. The Nest thermostat is just one of many technological solutions now available to help us manage our environments in the most efficient way possible, saving users an average of 10% t 12% on their heating bills and 15 percent on cooling expenses.
These cost-savings are one of the many reasons Americans are adopting smart-home technologies at an incredible pace. In 2014, just 13% of U.S. broadband households reported having at least one smart-home device. That figure has more than doubled, according to a CNET-Coldwell Banker study released last summer. Beyond just cost savings, 87% of those surveyed said that the technology makes their lives easier, while 57% say the devices save them time, and 45% report their smart-home technologies save them more than $1,100 annually.
CTA estimates that about 9.5 million smart-home products will sell in the U.S. this year, a 29% increase over last year alone. Eventually, most of the core objects within our homes will be smart, connectable, digitized and sensorized.
Smart-home products are slated to be this year’s hot holiday seller. According to recent CTA research, among consumers who plan to buy tech for the holidays, 24% plan to buy a smart-home product, including 10% who plan to purchase a smart thermostat, 8% who plan to buy a home camera and 6% who plan to purchase a digital-assistant device, such as Amazon’s Echo.
While it’s important to note Americans aren’t necessarily adopting smart-home technologies because they consume less energy, newer tech innovations will help us save money and make our lives more efficient.
Advances in technology are defying the myth that ‘green’ products have to be more expensive. We can realize significant carbon emissions reduction just by becoming more energy efficient.