Home improvement with the latest technology feels great, but it’s even more rewarding when you know you’re doing your part to help the planet. Smart home technology has a role to play in minimizing our energy consumption and, in general, in leading a greener life. We look at the biggest players in the smart home space every day, and these are the ones that have the biggest impact on combating climate change and minimizing plastic waste.
Ecobee was the first company to ever make a smart thermostat connected to the internet. Being able to take into account local weather forecasts, use presence detection and monitor humidity, Ecobee claims that the increased efficiency of its thermostats has kept the equivalent of 17.7 million tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere. Not only has this energy efficiency earned them Energy Star certification, but it has also earned them Partner of the Year for 2021 and 2022. Ecobee is also aware of e-waste. Maintains a robust repair and resale business and provides software updates that date back several generations. Recycled plastic is used in Ecobee thermostats, plus its packaging is completely recyclable. If you approach its partnerships with community housing associations and researchers, you have a company that seems truly dedicated to building a better future.
Rachio is one of the largest leaders in smart lawn irrigation. I’ve checked Rachio’s stuff in the past and been impressed, but it brings more than comfort, even watering the lawn. Being a B-certified corporation, it meets a lot of sustainability criteria and has won awards by placing them among the top B Corps there. Rachio says it has saved 45 billion gallons of water by increasing efficiency, which is a big problem when many ecosystems are being damaged by thirsty cities. If we want to make sure we still have enough water for everyone, we need solutions like Rachio’s to help us minimize use.
About 15% of a home’s emissions come from water heating. There are a handful of companies trying to optimize this use with Wi-Fi compatible controllers. Aquanta is one of the most successful players in the field. The device can be adapted to existing heaters, and once set up, users can use their phones to keep track of everything. The mobile app can track how much hot water is stored and how much has been used, provide maintenance alerts, and allow Aquanta to learn usage patterns over time to optimize heating schedules. The only real catch is that it doesn’t work with heat pumps or tankless heaters, which are both very efficient water heaters. Combating climate change is key to the Aquanta mission. Much of the controller’s technology was developed while working on its first product, a solar water heater. He is also an active member of a number of renewable energy associations.
While many of these products focus on energy savings within individual categories, a relatively new manufacturer is trying to report to the source. Span offers a smart electrical panel that connects perfectly with the solar panel and storage configurations. Owners receive complete remote control over their entire switch system. The Span solution is also designed for electric vehicles, so it can provide level 2 charging speeds for the car in the garage. Their mobile app is seamlessly arranged so you can set priorities for which devices in your home receive juice during an outage.
Learn more on Span.io
The biggest smart upgrade a home can get right now is a lot of roof solar panels. Manufacturers have built robust mobile apps for module-by-module status monitoring and even linked to common smart home tropes, such as voice assistant support. SolarEdge is a large manufacturer of solar inverters that has put the work into a reliable application. It tracks real-time power usage, power output status, current battery capacity, and the amount of power you sell back to the grid. Making this type of management easy to use is an essential part of getting people to make the leap. The inverters are reliable enough that Tesla has partnered with SolarEdge to integrate them with Powerwall batteries. In addition to putting energy management in the hands of homeowners, SolarEdge has a whole network of dedicated solutions to help ensure that the power that reaches your home is decarbonized.