As far as technology goes, we’re all over it. From tools to cars to the systems in our homes we can’t get enough. We love it most when technology comes along to save some green.
As Handyman Bloggers for Lowe’s Creative Ideas we’ve been trying to show you things you can do yourself to make things work better, or look better, or be better for you. And this time we’re tackling energy efficiency. Lowe’s provided a gift card to help offset some expenses so off I went to figure out how to help you become energy efficient.
Energy Efficiency with Smart Technology.
As we all know, there are plenty of ways to make your home more efficient. You can fix drafty doors and windows. You can beef up insulation in the attic. You can even seal up leaky HVAC ductwork with REAL aluminum foil duct tape (Lowe’s Item Number 135512), not the junky “fix-all” duct tape that STINKS for taping ducts. These are all great ways to save on energy costs, but they also take time, dedication, and know-how, which not a lot of people have. So I decided to dumb it down and show you how it can be easy to save energy, and the easiest way to save energy is with the smartest of technologies.
One of the best ways you can save money is by replacing your old grandma-style lightbulbs. You know, these things:
Oh man, when I see those bulbs blazing away I just see dollars burning right away with the filament. I imagine the dials spinning Clark-Griswold-Christmas-Vacation-style every time someone flips the switch or leaves the light on in their room and I have to get “classic dad” on them and walk around turning off lights and grumbling.
That’s why I went LED.
I replaced most of the main bulbs with LED bulbs, including my outdoor motion sensor flood lights (and even found a new motion sensor with built-in LEDs on clearance). Anything I couldn’t afford to fit with an LED bulb I replaced with a CFL bulb.
The move to LED can be a little scary cost-wise, but it’s worth it. A 60W equivalent bulb, like the one above is about $12. I know, I know. BUT the bulbs are said to last almost 23 years (at 3 hours/day) and cost only around $1 per 1000 hours of usage. That’s around $1/year to burn it 3 hours a day? Leave the light on all day for all I care. Oh, and I’ll see you in 2036 when I need to replace these bulbs. Pretty smart technology if you ask me.
Creating efficiency with smart heating and cooling.
Not only can you go smart for heating/cooling, you can go for style as well with a Nest thermostat (Lowe’s Item Number 86217).
The Nest thermostat is insanely awesome. I’m not going to sit here and tell you all about the Nest, but I will tell you a few simple reasons it rules.
1. It learns.
That’s right, it learns your habits and programs itself after a few days based on you turning it up and down when you wake up or go to bed. Almost everyone has programmable thermostats, but honestly, programming them is a pain, and I bet most people don’t even bother. They continue on day after day turning it up and down manually.
2. You can control it with your smartphone. ’nuff said.
Yep, you’re coming home from work early on a wintery day, you whip out your smartphone and crank up the heat so the house is warm when you get there.
3. Energy usage/savings tracking.
Nerd-alert. It tracks your energy usage and sends you a monthly energy report with tips and tricks for saving even more money next month.
4. Compatibility tester.
The nest has a compatibility tester on their site that you can check before buying it. You pull your old thermostat off the wall, go to nest.com/#works, check boxes for the wires you see coming out of the wall, the site tells you if you can get a Nest (99% can) and shows a wiring diagram of how to install in the Nest. Cool, right?
5. Simple install.
You can be up and running in 5 minutes. I know I was. This is another case where the smarter the technology is, the simpler it is to use. The Nest compatibility tester/installation helper make life very easy. How much simpler can this get?
So there you have it. Starting on the road to having a greener, more energy-efficient house is as easy as screwing in a lightbulb (sorry about that). A few simple purchases and about 20 minutes of time can save you a lot of dollars in the long run.
Total cost for this project: $~490.00
Time to put in all new bulbs AND Nest thermostat: 20-30 minutes
“In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from Lowe’s for my time and participation in the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Influencer Network. Although we have a material connection to Lowe’s, any publicly stated opinions of Lowe’s and their products remain our own.”