“Go green.” That’s a nice catchy slogan, but when it comes to actually “going green” many homeowners aren’t really sure how to go about it. Luckily, there are some exciting new DIY technologies that handy homeowners can use to make their homes greener, not to mention more comfortable, enjoyable, and secure. From handy green gadgets to full-service home automation packages, here’s a look at some great DIY solutions to help you go green at home.
HUE Lighting System
With a name reminiscent of a friendly next-door neighbor, Philips first introduced the “Hue” line of iOS-compatible LED light bulbs in 2012 as a creative and energy-saving lighting solution for homeowners. Initially Hue only featured pricey color-changing WiFi enabled bulbs—all remotely controlled through an app on your smartphone—designed to use less than 9 watts of power and to last for years. But in March of 2014, Philips announced a less expensive “white light only” LED bulb known as “Hue Lux”. Despite the lack of color options, Hue Lux still allows users to control lighting intensities and schedules remotely.
The best news from Philips about Hue is the summer 2014 release of “Hue Tap,” a round mountable switch that makes lighting control even easier by eliminating the need to pull out the iPhone each and every time. Using no wires or batteries, Hue Tap is powered by kinetic energy. Every time you tap it the device gets a charge. And that’s as green as it gets.
Home may be where the heart is, but when it comes to saving energy through climate control, the “smart thermostat” is the brains of the organization. Thanks to new smart devices like Nest, thermostats now have the ability to learn a homeowner’s heating and cooling habits—both good and bad—and then use that information to program themselves to ensure maximum climate-control efficiency.
Smart Power Strip
Another great home automation device that can help make life at home both easier and greener—and is a piece of cake to install—is the “smart power strip”. Designed to handle all those power wasting peripheral appliances that typically get plugged in to the nearest wall socket, devices such as the Smart Strip LCG4 automatically detect when vampire appliances are just sitting around sucking energy, and promptly turn them completely off as if they were unplugged.
DIY Home Automated Security System
While there are a number of home-automated security companies that can install and monitor a commercial system for a price, today’s off-the-shelf technologies make installing a DIY security system fairly simple. And the added peace of mind will make any extra effort worth it. One very simple approach that will allow you to create a remotely viewable, motion-sensing home security system, is the iCam app. Available from the iTunes store for a mere $5, iCam can be set up with multiple webcams to enable homeowners to remotely view an ongoing stream on their iPhones, Android phones, or web browsers. In addition, iCam will send push notifications when motions are detected and take short-interval snapshots of anything that might have been moving around. Setting up a security system with iCam can be difficult, so make sure you follow a how-to guide when setting one up.
Home Automation—Professionally Installed
When it comes to putting together a complete and integrated home automation system, one option even the most skilled DIY homeowner should consider is a professionally installed commercial full-service home automation package. A number of companies such as Vivint and Nest offer state-of-the art systems, custom-designed and competitively priced to meet the wants and needs of individual homeowners all across the country. Both Nest and Vivint reviews have shown satisfied customers, but evaluate your home and choose the home automation that works best for your situation.
With today’s sophisticated technology, it’s easy to build your own home automation system while going green at the same time.