By Erin Vaughan
Spring is here, and that has all of us feeling a lot greener. After all, it's hard not to think at least a little bit about the environment when you've just watched nature call forth all of her bud-tipped bounty! Green devices offer plenty of ways to celebrate the springtime renewal from the safety of the porch—while cutting the Earth a break at the same time. Check it out below!
Higher temperatures can mean bulked-up energy bills. Ceiling fans, in particular, offer a greener way to stay cool in the spring and early summer. A central air conditioning unit can easily gobble up thousands of watts of energy a month, while a ceiling fan usually only uses about a tenth of that energy. Pair your fan with a Z-Wave activated wall-mounted switch that lets you manage your fan right from your smartphone.
Speaking of air conditioning bills, there's a good chance yours might go up over the summer, so prepare now by installing a more energy-efficient thermostat. Programmable thermostats get the DOE's vote for energy savings; according to their ENERGY STAR program, you can save up to 10 percent on your electricity bills by setting your thermostat back when you're away. While you're at work, for instance, dial your thermostat up to 78 degrees, and you'll see the difference on your utility payments. Then you can set your smart thermostat to automatically turn down the temperature a half hour before your arrival to make sure your home is cool and comfortable when you open the door. With a smart thermostat, you can truly set it and forget it. Of course, that thermostat will only work well if your AC's doing its part, too, so if your central air conditioner is old and outdated, it may be time to have your old system put out to pasture in favor of a greener, high-SEER AC.
Passive heating and cooling—the kind that doesn't take any electricity — is a really green way to trim your bills come summertime. In fact, energy-efficient window treatments like motorized exterior blinds can significantly reduce solar heat gain, especially when they're installed over south or west-facing windows, and they don't even require a window replacement. They work even better than indoor blinds because they block the sunlight before it enters your home. Manipulating blinds like these without a remote control can be difficult and a lot of motorized shades won't work with your smartphone—at least until now. A Z-Wave motor control turns all of those "dumb" remote-controlled gadgets into technological marvels.
Milder weather naturally leads to kicking back on the patio, but as day unfolds into evening, who wants to give up their spot in the lawn chair to turn on the lights or start a fire in the fire pit? A smart handheld control can solve at least one of those problems. It lets you remotely turn up to eighteen smart appliances and lights on and off, and group them together to program scenes. Your spring just got a little bit smarter—now, if only you could find a device to decode grandma's secret BBQ sauce recipe!
Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.
z-wave switches, z-wave thermostat, eco-friendly, green devices, z-wave motor control, z-wave control
The concept of home lighting is pretty simple: you hit a switch, the room is illuminated. The light switch functionality hasn't changed much since its invention. But what if you could power them all of your lights down instantly at the touch of a single button? With Z-Wave smart home technology, you can. Quite easily. And that's just scratching the surface of the intelligence you can add to your home with automation called "scenes."
Gearing up for school or summer vacation for the kids can be a source of stress for some parents. You may be worried about leaving the kids home alone during the workday – but did you know that a smart home system powered by Z-Wave is just the answer to put your mind at ease?
FIBARO Smoke Sensor
Z-Wave Smart Home Lighting & Security
How can home automation actually make life better for you and your family? It's a question we hear all the time. There's no denying the enhanced convenience of being able to turn on a light from the palm of your hand, or adjusting the thermostat from the comfort of your favorite spot on the sofa.
Garages, along with the cars inside them, used to be a status symbol, but these days, if all you've got are 3 walls, a door and a place to house your car, it's not that impressive. To make it more than merely an Airbnb for your Prius—it needs to be smart! Of course, adding smart home control to your garage can be as simple or as sophisticated as you want it to be.
Complete Home Automation Package - Vivint
GE Z-Wave Plug-in Outdoor Smart Switch
There's an old saying that goes something like this: "If you want to experience all four seasons in one day, come to Alabama." Mind you, that's true of many other places beside the Yellowhammer State, especially this time of year. With the seasons changing, chances are you need the heat in the morning, AC at lunch, and heat again by bedtime.
If you're one of the roughly 50% of homeowners looking to add smart home technology to your home in the coming year, chances are good that you've either put a lot of thought and planning into your purchases, or you're absolutely daunted by the staggering number of options. It isn't always easy to know unless you look for the Z-Wave logo.
Home technology is always moving, always improving, always promising to provide ease and convenience to our lives. So what sort of innovations stand to make a big impact? Here are 10 developments you'll want to keep an eye on.
Yale Real Living Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt With Z-Wave ($165) - We put the Yale's touchscreen lock at the top of this list because it checks all the basic requirements for a good smart lock. It's easy to install, works with smart home systems such as SmartThings and Honeywell, and the backlit digital keypad eliminates the need to carry around house keys.
I have Somfy motorized blinds, and I ended up buying a Z-wave controller that translates Somfy's proprietary protocol to Z-wave so I could control it with the Echo, $179.99 at Amazon using a hub like SmartThings or Wink, $60.28 at Amazon for voice control.
Smart technology is about learning and customization, and that's what smart thermostats are beginning to offer. Smart lighting features provide homeowners with elegance, ambience and energy efficiency.
Smart homes filled with connected products are loaded with possibilities to make our lives easier, more convenient, and more comfortable.
Instead, just use smart locks to give them a virtual key, and to give a virtual key to baby sitters, dog walkers, and temporary guests. You don't need to ask your neighbor to water your lawn while you're out of town, or to check to see if you closed the garage door and turned off the lights. You can monitor your lawn watering, and the status of your doors and lights, with your smartphone or tablet.
With live and recorded video, instant mobile alerts, Z-Wave home automation and an extensive list of environmental sensors, Piper nv is an excellent choice for a home or office.
If you're still manually turning your lights on and off, 2016 should be the year you finally dare to embrace home automation. Smart home solutions can help you streamline your life to be more efficient and productive. Plus, with fewer home tasks to worry about, you'll end up with more time, energy, and money for the things that really matter.