Thursday, October 25, 2012

Saving energy made easy (really easy!)

Here’s a scenario. When my family goes on a ski trip to Tahoe, my wife and I disagree about whether to turn our home heating on or off.  She wants the house warm for our kids when we return; I want to save energy. Well, what if we turned off the thermostat, but on our return drive an hour away from home, I use my phone to direct an Internet-enabled thermostat to turn the heat up in my home!

GreenWave Reality's light bulbs can be controlled via computer, iPad, iPhone or Android.Such technology is beginning to  mature, whether it’s smart thermostats from startups like Nest Labs or Honeywell, or things such as lights you can control with your iPhone.
Screw in a light bulb today, and all you can hope for is illumination. But GreenWave Reality claims its new light bulbs will also offer control. Without any additional wiring in the home, the energy-efficient compact fluorescent and LED bulbs can switch on and off at specified times or connect with motion sensors to turn on when people enter a room and off when people leave, CEO Greg Memo says. The bulbs also will all be dimmable, he says, and – using light sensors – users will be able to set them to automatically adjust to natural light.
Essentially, the lights include chips that give each bulb an Internet IP address so they can be monitored and controlled wirelessly online. They’re the newest additions to the trend of the Internet of Things, in which objects – and not just people – communicate via the Internet.  ”Everyone talks about the Internet of Things; we’re actually doing it,” Memo says.
Some may dismiss this technology as something for techies, but Portland General Electric states on their website that Low-cost projects including occupancy sensors, timers and dimmers are all good ways to save. When combined with products such as the Green Wave control you can use from your iPhone the energy savings can add up.
Here are some of the recommended lighting solutions:

Here are energy-saving replacement options for traditional incandescents:
  • Good: Energy-saving incandescents. These halogen incandescents are about 25 percent more efficient and last up to three times longer than old-school incandescent bulbs.*
  • Better: Compact fluorescent lights. ENERGY STAR CFLs are about 75 percent more efficient and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.* CFLs are generally the most cost-efficient replacement right now.
  • Best: LEDs. Light emitting diode bulbs are 75 percent to 80 percent more efficient and last up to 25 times longer than incandescents.* Since LED technology is still maturing these bulbs are more expensive, but prices are starting to come down.

Technology is fun. Saving the planet through energy use reduction is smart.
Doing both together is cool and easy.

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