Here are a few devices that can save you time and even money.
The Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest is a company started by Tony Fadell, one of the designers of the original iPod. You may think “It’s a thermostat. Why would I need a fancier thermostat?” But this thing is truly amazing. Even at the $250 price point the company says you’ll make back the money on energy savings in less than two years and every year after that you can expect energy savings of $100-$150.
The way it works is simple: Any time you adjust the air, leave your house, or return it memorizes it and uses that to make a schedule for your heating and air. After a while it will automatically keep your schedule and make sure that energy is being saved. If you make changes, it will change with you. You can make adjustments to it with your phone from anywhere. It’s pretty darn cool.
Lockitron: Keyless Entry for your house
The first wifi locks from lockitron were released a year ago, and now they’re looking to create something even better. Now before you get all worried about hackers breaking into your wifi lock you should know that Lockitron uses the same level of security that banks use on the internet to protect your information. Lockitron’s latest product hasn’t been released yet, but they’re available at an introductory price of $150, which is pretty good IMHO.
If you have an iPhone then the Lockitron will recognize your phone’s unique UDID via bluetooth. When you walk up to your door it unlocks, when you walk away from your door it locks back. If you have a friend that needs to get into your house while your’e away then just have them text you when they need to be let in and you can unlock the door. I think it’s down right nifty.
Philips Hue Connected Lightbulbs
Most everyone knows by this time that CFL Light Bulbs save lots of energy. But they also contain dangerous mercury and studies have shown that the wavelength of light they put off can cause headaches and even depression. The answer is LED lighting, which until now hasn’t been readily available to the consumer. If you cut down your energy consumption already with CFLs then you can reduce your power bill even more by switching to LEDs. Philips has released a set of LED lights that are connected wirelessly to your home network. So in addition to saving power when they’re on these lights can automatically shut off, dim, brighten, and even change colors throughout the day according to your schedule.
In addition each bulb can generate tons of different colors including color schemes designed to promote relaxation, concentration, or vision for when you’re reading. The lights can be networked together to work in chorus. They can also be turned on and off from anywhere with the iOS app that also allows color mixing. These bulbs also use 1/10 the energy of traditional light bulbs. The drawback is the price. At $200 for the starter kit (that includes a measly three bulbs and the wireless bridge) and $60 for every bulb after that you won’t be replacing every bulb at once, but as they’re projected to last 8-10 years and save money on your power bill, you might find that they’re not a bad investment plus they’re just plain neato.