Saving the Environment Starts Inside the Home
For many people, the month of April brings a renewed interest in environmental consciousness. Just as the world around us begins to bloom with delicate new life, Earth Day provides an annual reminder to do our part to reduce our impact. On the more practical side, the transition from cold winter to hot summer provides an ideal opportunity to conduct routine maintenance on home structures and appliances to ensure they’re operating in ideal condition.
The reality is that being more environmentally friendly doesn’t require major investment, a huge lifestyle change or a ton of work. It can be as simple as changing a lightbulb, or a few, right in your own home. Here are 7 easy ways that switching to smart LED bulbs can save the environment, one bulb at a time:
- Reduce consumption. Residential lighting consumed about 129 billion kilowatt-hours in the U.S. alone last year, accounting for about 9% of all the electricity used at home. Because LED bulbs have proven to be as much as 80% more efficient than conventional bulbs, switching to smart LEDs throughout your home can dramatically reduce your individual energy consumption.
- Reduce bulb changes and waste. Not only do LEDs operate more efficiently, they also last much longer—decades, in fact—compared to conventional incandescent or even CFLs. This reduces the number of bulb changes, and the number of bulbs that go into landfills, ultimately reducing the release of toxic chemicals, like mercury, into the environment.
- Program lights to turn off automatically. If you have children, or a forgetful +1 or roommate, turning off light switches could be a full-time job. Leaving the lights on accidentally, especially in mostly unused areas like the basement, closets or spare bedrooms, can drive up energy use and bills. Save the frustration, money and environment by installing programmable lights, like Element, that can be scheduled to turn off automatically at a specific time. This ensures the lights won’t be left on all night, reducing your environmental footprint while everyone is sound asleep.
- Use dimming to “harvest” daylight. You know the feeling: it’s daylight but overcast, so it’s not quite bright enough in the kitchen to see clearly to cook or to read without eyestrain in the living room. So, you turn on the lights. Suddenly you have half a dozen bulbs burning at full power when you really only needed a little extra light. Bulbs with integrated dimming can solve the problem and cut back on energy use. Simply adjust brightness in the app to get the right output you need to supplement the natural light without going overboard and wasting electricity in the process.
- Use motion sensors. Remember those basement and closet lights that burn for hours (#3)? How about the porch light or garage-mounted flood light that you leave turned on for safety and security? Put those energy vampires to bed by installing bulbs with built-in motion detectors. This way, the lights only turn on when someone walks within range, and automatically shut off when they’re no longer needed.
- Use an app to control lights remotely. One of the great benefits of smart home technology is remote access. The ability to control systems in your home with just a mobile phone is extremely convenient, not to mention efficient. With smart lighting systems like Element, if you forget to turn the lights off when you leave for work in the morning, a quick tap on the mobile app is all it takes to reduce your consumption for the day. Some people also leave lights burning intentionally while away, so that they can return at night safely with clear visibility. Remote access can help here, too. Simply use the app to switch on the lights as you approach the driveway. Or, for extended absences, program the lights to switch on and off on your normal at-home schedule, to give the illusion that you’re there and deter would-be vandals or thieves. Both eliminate the need to leave the lights on 24/7, which can reduce your consumption and environmental impact.
- Monitor usage. Sometimes just being aware of consumption can make a world of difference. The free Element Home app allows you to monitor the energy usage of every connected Element bulb, so you’ll know exactly how much energy your lighting consumes. Once you know the facts, it’s easier to take smart steps to reduce consumption.
While most people may not consider household lighting to be a major factor in environmental sustainability, the truth is that every single bulb plays a small role that, when combined with all the bulbs in your home, your neighbors’ homes and every home around the country, really adds up!
This month, and throughout the year, consider making the switch to high-efficiency smart LED bulbs for an instant Earth Day gift to our planet.