Guest post by Maria Ramos
“On many days, the dampness of the air
pervades all life, all living.
Matches refuse to strike.
The towel, hung to dry, grows
wetter by the hour …
Envelopes seal themselves.
Postage stamps mate with one another as
shamelessly as grasshoppers.”
So said E.B. White of a typical Florida summer in his essay “The Ring of Time”.
As the season again approaches, Floridians and their slow-speaking neighbors to the north
will experience that same creepy-crawly dread of “95 degrees and humid!”
Money will flow like summer sweat, moving from private pockets – your pockets – into the
coffers of salesmen hocking air conditioners, box fans and dehumidifiers.
Dam the flow?
Rather than depending on old air conditioners and their ilk, on power-sucking devices that
pollute the atmosphere and wring out wallets, why not invest in “smart” home technologies
that do the opposite?
Like a thermostat that adjusts heating and cooling conditions if a door or window is ajar?
Meet the Alarm.com Smart Thermostat, released by Alarm.com on April 15, 2015.
Winner of the Consumer Electronics Association’s Mark of Excellence award for energy
management, the thermostat bundles the features most often demanded by consumers.
Controlled by a simple onboard interface or smartphone app, the Smart Thermostat
collaborates with Alarm.com sensors strewn throughout the home to adjust temperature
on a room-by-room, moment-by-moment basis as best it can.
Retail price is approximately $150.
If you’re not an Alarm.com customer, however, the Smart Thermostat may as well be
the Hope Diamond for the all the chance you have of buying it.
Into this void steps the Quirky Aros window air conditioner.
Invented by former Department of Energy Executive Garthern Leslie in collaboration
with Quirky and General Electric, Aros has similar hardware compared with every other
window air conditioner.
Its software is what’s special.
Aros learns when you sleep, when you cook, when you return from work, and adjusts
You control it via its smartphone Wink app, which also houses usage and cost data
organized by month.
One problem: The Aros air conditioner works well for small apartments and condominiums,
but what about a 2,800-square-foot ranch home?
Big house, meet Ecovent.
Ecovent is a plug-and-play temperature optimization system due for launch August 2015.
Here’s how it works.
You purchase an Ecovent sensor for each room and swap out all your air conditioning vents
for special Ecovent versions.
The sensors measure temperature; the vents modulate the amount of cool air that enters
You control everything from your Apple or Android smartphone.
You’ll never bicker with your spouse again over who’s hot and who’s not, and you’ll pay more
than a thousand dollars for the privilege.
However, EnMax Energy emphasizes the fact that in the long run, many of these technologies
pay for themselves and then some.
But with pasty air outside and cool air inside, it can be a struggle to exercise, to garden, to
hike and enjoy the evening alfresco.
You need motivation to get moving; you need the Misfit Flash band.
A combination watch and fitness tracker at home on your wrist, sleeve, shoelace, keychain or
lapel, the Flash tracks all your motions: cycling, swimming, dance, even cat naps.
The Flash syncs to your smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy and runs off a six-month
A common theme runs throughout these gadgets and appliances: Internet connectivity.
They are harbingers of the Internet of Things, a network where machines dialogue with
On the cutting edge of this revolution is Apple HomeKit, an interactive home automation
to one another.
Best of all, all these products are designed to help you save money on energy bills.
The earth, and your bank account, will thank you.
About the author
Maria is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.
Have you considered investing in “smart” home technologies to save the
environment and save money on energy bills?
Or have you used smart home technologies in your home already?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.