The 7 Energy-Saving Gadgets That the Techie in Your Life Needs

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It’s probably no secret to you that the go-green effort is in full effect. This movement is now touching almost every aspect of our lives—from the way we eat to the way we deal with waste to the way we drive our cars.

Because sustainability efforts have a hand in every part of our lives, the idea of helping the environment (and saving money) through energy savings plays a role in how many of us shop, too! Manufacturers of all kinds of products that touch our everyday lives are offering more energy-saving gadgets than ever before. Of course, being folks who are hugely invested in conserving energy and saving you money (because who doesn’t love saving money?), we’re all about this trend.

Still, it’s vital to point out that not every energy saving gadget is as useful as it sounds. So we’ve compiled a list of some of the most effective, must-have energy-saving gadgets on the market. They won’t just say they save energy. They’ll actually do it.

The best part? If you use them correctly and really embrace them, they’ll save you some serious bucks while saving the planet.

Even small savings add up when it comes to power consumption. Source: Aniek Wessel
Even small savings add up when it comes to power consumption. Source: Aniek Wessel

Why Does Energy Saving Matter?

If you’re reading through this blog post thinking, “sure, energy conservation is important, I guess. But what’s the big deal? Can I reallymake that big of a difference by switching a few things at home?”

The short answer: Of course you can!

The longer answer? That one’s coming at you right now:

Even small changes accumulate over time to have a significant impact. So the tiny stuff totally matters. Why? Because when you switch out your normal gadgets—i.e., old-school thermostats or lightbulbs—you’re doing just a little bit to change the way you use energy. But a little bit goes a long way here. Those small changes, well, they add up—and the more you conserve energy, the better off our planet—and everyone living on it—will be.

Sure, we know you might think the energy-saving gadgets are just part of the go-green hype, but there are tons of reasons (beyond the fact that it’s trendy) for you to consider shopping for energy-saving gadgets.

Save Money

Energy savings = financial savings on your electric bill! When you cut back on the amount of energy you’re using by investing in energy-saving technology, you can expect to see a steep decrease in your energy bill (potentially hundreds of dollars every year if you’re doing it right!). Less money spent in one area, means more can be spent in another! And with the holiday gift-giving season coming up, who doesn’t want little more cash to spend?!

SAVE THE PLANET

Because energy and electricity are produced (mostly) through fossil fuels in the US, the less energy we’re using means fewer emissions from fossil fuels. To put it into perspective, in 2018, about 64 percent of electricity generation came from fossil fuels like coal and petroleum. Reducing the amount of energy you use (even small things in your everyday routine) decrease energy demand and production, which in turn reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

The Must-Have Energy-Saving Gadgets for the Techie in Your Life

Now that we’re all on the same page about why energy-saving gadgets are super important, we can move on to the good stuff.

 Whether you’re trying to find the perfect gift for the energy-conscious techie in your life or you’ve realized it’s finally time to hop aboard the energy conservation train (hey, welcome to the club, there’s plenty of room for everyone here!), you’ll definitely want to check out the items below.

Smart Thermostats

Thermostats have long been a nuisance to homeowners, renters, landlords, and more. Why? Because they’re typically date and require manual adjustments. You know what we mean—that hassle of remembering to change the temperature setting with the change in season or time of day.

If you invest in one energy-saving gadget this year, make it a smart thermostat.
Smart thermostats are powerful tools to reduce electricity consumption. Source: Dan Lefebvre

On top of that, as you may already be aware, the HVAC system which the thermostat controls is a huge energy suck—in fact, heating and cooling are the leading drivers of energy use (and bills!) in the home. Because of that, if you only install one new gadget this year, make it a smart thermostat. With smart thermostats, you can automatically change temperatures through the use of apps, pre-schedule temperatures for day and night schedules, and get a serious handle on your energy-savings in your household.

Looking for recommendations on which to choose or to get for your favorite techie this holiday season? You’re in luck—we devoted a whole blog post diving into the 7 best smart thermostats for energy savings and how to truly take advantage of them.

Smart Home Hubs & Energy Management Systems

We know what you’re thinking, and yes, these systems truly exist! There has been a major expansion of smart home devices and appliances available from various manufacturers. So streamlining the communication of these devices is more important than ever in order to leverage their energy-saving capabilities.

A smart home hub (or smart speaker) can serve as an energy management system that allows you to control your entire home (yes, you read that correctly) remotely with any smart device like your smartphone or tablet. We’re talking about lights, electric kettles, stereos, air conditioning—the works. It can all be controlled from one, single place. No longer will you have to suffer the energy consumption consequences of forgetting to turn the lights off when you leave the house—with an smart home hub, all it takes is the press of a button on your smart phone for all to be right with the world.

Amazon Echo is a family-favorite, voice-activated speaker that enables you to manage your home’s smart devices. But for full smart home management capabilities, we recommend Samsung’s SmartThings Hub.

LED Lighting

If you’re still using old-school regular fixtures and bulbs, you’re really driving energy bills and should switch to LED lighting ASAP! People used to hesitate about LED lights, complaining that they emitted harsh light. But they now provide much softer quality light. And in addition to running much more efficiently than incandescent bulbs, they have much longer lifespans and  can be dimmed, which gives you even more control over the lighting in your household.

LED light bulbs are becoming smart! Hence our categorization of them as must-have energy-saving gadgets.

Your techie will get particularly jazzed about Sengled LED bulbs, which are essentially high-tech appliances disguised as LED light bulbs. You can buy LED bulbs with a built-in Wi-Fi repeater, stereo system, or security camera, to name a few! And you can control Sengled bulbs from a smartphone app, which also measures your energy savings and allows you to track them.

Smart Windows

Most of us have heard about smartphones and smartwatches, but what about smart windows?! This is a super cool gadget that’s all the rage with energy conservationists, and something your favorite techie will love. Smart windows can help keep your home as energy efficient as possible year-round by using special filters. These filters activate when the exterior glass reaches certain transition points and tint the window to block unwanted solar heat and minimize glare. Smart windows therefore create cool space on the hottest days, saving you from cranking up the AC as much as before. And during cooler periods, they remain clear so your room takes in all the warming rays of light. The result? Less power required for temperature maintenance and a lower energy bill.

Smart windows are must-have energy-saving gadgets that help you manage the temperature of your home. Source: Adeolu Eletu
Smart windows apply filters to help you manage the temperature of your home. Source: Adeolu Eletu

Solar Power

If you’re trying to dramatically reduce your electricity and energy costs, consider solar chargers that can be stuck outside or in the window of your home to absorb the sun’s power. Then, use those solar rays to power your smart devices, charge your phones, and more!

We think your favorite techie will particularly love the Lumos unPlug Backpack to enable device charging throughout the day, even on the go! The Solio Solar Battery Pack and Charger is also super handy whether you’re at home, school or work.

Charging Stations & Smart Plugs

Have you ever heard of phantom load? It’s definitely spooky like it sounds, but not in the way you’re thinking. Phantom load is power drawn from the grid by electronics that aren’t technically “on” but are still plugged in (that’s right, the resulting energy use and increased cost are what makes this so scary). Phantom power pretty much sucks the power from your home for no reason whatsoever. But, there are some easy fixes.

First, charging stations help to automatically turn off and stop phantom power in its tracks when devices are fully charged. They can also be programmed to turn off automatically after a specific length of time, too! Similarly, smart plugs like the Belkin Wemo work with your wi-fi router and allow you to turn any appliance on and off from afar, with any Internet-enabled device. It will eliminate phantom load from any device or appliance plugged into it. For more tips on how to eliminate phantom loads in your home, check out our previous post with recommendations!

Certified Appliances

Okay, we admit these aren’t necessarily “gadgets.” But no energy-saving product review would be complete without mentioning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Program. If you’re looking to replace any appliance throughout your home, be sure to hunt down a product that sports the ENERGY STAR logo.You can find ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators, ceiling fans, toasters, coffee makers, and so much more (the list truly goes on and on). When you purchase these types of appliances, you know you’re getting up-to-date technology that puts energy conservation at the forefront—meaning energy-saving is a priority.

The result? You’ll cut your costs and do your part to conserve more energy without having to lift a finger.

Not a bad list, right? We thought so, too. Now comes the tough part for you: Figuring out how to convince your whole household you need every last one of these energy-saving gadgets on the list (we suggest showing them our blog post about how important energy conservation truly is! It also never hurts to mention you can cut your energy costs, just sayin’.)

If you’ve got any energy-saving gadgets that you think would be a perfect addition to this list, let us know in the comments! If you’re interested in other tips about how to conserve energy, insights on electricity and energy, or recommendations on ways to cut back your energy costs, keep up with our blog. The WattDoesItUse blog is regularly updated and overflowing with the need-to-know details about energy, electricity, conservation, and so much more! Don’t miss out!