Have your heard the phrase green smart home pop up more regularly lately?
If you have, that’s not surprising.
As we move further into the 21st Century, topics like climate change are becoming ever more present.
And for good reason. Scientists predict climate change could cause more frequent and intense, storms, heat waves and rising sea levels which could effect the lives of billions.
Making the choice to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle is now more important than ever, and there’s no better way than to start with the habits and technology in your own home.
So, how do you create your own green smart home?
You can start by:
- Step 1 – Switching torenewable energy
- Step 2 – Reducing your plastic usage
- Step 3 – Cutting down on meat (or ideally going vegan)
- Step 4 – Reusing your green left overs in the form of composting
- Step 5 – Plant carbon absorbing plants around your home
- Step 6 – Incorporating a smart irrigation system
- Step 7 – Use solar water heating
Guide to Owning a Green Smart Home
Below we have outlined 7 steps to transforming your home, into a place that not only benefits you, but the entire world and everyone living on it.
Ideally, you want to be able to check each one of these steps off your to do list. However, slow and steady wins the race, if you are not able to follow each and every one of these steps, that is no problem.
Performing 1 step is better than performing none, and we gaurantee you will be able to follow at least 1 of the steps on this list.
Step 1 – Switch to renewable energy
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Besides the obvious costs involved, electricity contributes to 40% of global CO2 emissions. Obviously, households relying solely on the electrical grid don’t help against the fight against climate change.
The first step to living in a green smart home, is switching to renewable energy.
You have a few options to do this, but my recommendation is installing a 3KW (monocrystalline) solar system to get you right off the grid (this assumes you have a small to medium sized home).
The cost of a 3KW solar system will set you back about $15,000 depending on where you live in the world. Solar panels generally last about 25 – 30 years. Taking into account the average monthly cost of electricity, you would save around $14,326 in 20 years by installing a 3.5kW solar system (again this is location dependent, we referenced Los Angeles in this example).
How much Co2 emissions will your home save, by switching to an off grid solar system?
The average person in the United States uses 12,000kWh of electricity per year.
Assuming that the average household houses 2 persons, switching to solar energy will allow your green smart home to produce 15,840 tons less Co2 every year.
(Fun fact, if every solar viable home in Los Angeles installed a solar system to offset their electrical demand, they would rid the atmosphere of about 4.2 million metric tons of CO2.)
Step 2 – Reduce your overall plastic usage
One of the easiest, yet strangely unfamiliar ways to transform your household into a green smart home is to reduce your plastic usage!
The numbers will likely stagger you, but it’s important to spread the truth.
Our planet produces over 380 million tons of plastic every year. Some studies indicate that up to 50% of that amount comes in the form of single use plastics.
A straw for example is used for just a few moments of your life, yet lasts several hundred years on our planet.
Read this article to find out why plastic is bad for the environment.
5 Ways you can reduce your plastic usage
- Bring your own bag to the grocery store, or just simply carry your groceries by hand.
- Buy your food in bulk.
- Use your own coffee mugs when buying coffee or tea by the supermarket
- Politely decline the offer of plastic straws when eating/drinking out at a restaurant.
- Give up bottled water.
I highly recommend reading 100 steps to a plastic free life if you are serious in making the switch to a green smart home.
Step 3 – Go vegan
Going vegan is perhaps one of the most overlooked cures to combating climate change. I highly recommend watching two documentaries pertaining to veganism: Game Changers & Cowspiracy.
Here are the trailers for both.
If there was just step that you followed from this green smart home list, it should be this one.
If you don’t believe me, here are some facts to set the record straight:
- A 1/3-pound burger requires 660 gallons(2498 liters) of waterto make. That’s the equivalent of flushing your toilet 227 times to eat just one burger.
- 5,800 sq. km of forest is being cut downin the Amazon every year, to make room for cattle farming (so we can eat meat). Given the fact that the Amazon homes millions of species of plant/animal life and absorbs about 5% of our annual Co2 emissions, cutting it down is quite a big deal. Check out this interactive map below, which depicts the state of Rondonia’s rainforests from 1984 to 2018
- Estimates vary somewhat, but livestock is said to be responsible for between 10 to 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. How you might ask? Well, it’s in their droppings. The manure releases large amounts of methane. And when you consider there are over 25.9 billion chickens and 987.5 million cows on our planet, you start to see how.
Step 4 – Reuse your green left overs
By following step 3, you will ultimately have a lot more of step 4 (you garden won't complain, trust me).
The great part about that, is you get to reuse your left overs as a compost to feed your veggies which can then be reused again. The circle of life here just seems like a no brainer.
Creating a compost is very easy, it took us about 30 minutes to make ours.
Check out this video to get a better idea on how to make a compost to add to your green smart home.
Step 5 – Plant Carbon Absorbing Plants Around Your Green Smart Home
Besides being aesthetically pleasing, planting plants around your home can be your very own front lines kind of way to combat climate change.
It’s very important that when doing this, especially if you plan to plant in your garden outside, you make sure you plant indigenous species of plant.
Here in South Africa (where I’m currently writing this article from) we have an indigenous plant called Spekboom.
Studies have shown that Spekboom is able to capture and store between 2.9 and 8.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year.
So, I challenge you to do a bit of research. What indigenous plant in your country is able to absorb large amount of carbon?
If you are based in the United States, you can use this website to do just that. If you are based elsewhere in the world, type into Google: “indigenous plants *your country*”
Step 6 – Incorporate a Smart Irrigation System
Households with inefficient automatic landscape irrigation systems, are responsible for the loss of about 25,000 gallons (94,635 liters) of water annually.
The majority of this, up to 50% is lost due to strong wind, evaporation, and runoff (a leaking pipe for example).
The major culprit however, is over watering coupled with evaporation. Inefficient irrigation systems are simply not equipped to deal with heat and the subsequent evaporation that follows this phenomena.
However, we are able to control the amount of water we use and when we use it.
Smart irrigation controllers like this one, monitor weather, soil conditions, evaporation and plant water use to automatically adjust the watering schedule to the exact conditions of the targeted site.
Besides the obvious environmental benefits, smart irrigation controllers like the one I listed above are said to produce 30-50% savings on your monthly water bill!
Step 7 – Use Solar Water Heating
The amount of electricity used to simply heat up your homes water everyday is incredibly staggering.
The common U.S. residential water heater tank has a capacity of about 40 U.S. gallons (151 liters).
The typical water heating range is usually taken from 60 °F to 140 °F (15.6 °C to 60 °C). It takes roughly 7.5 kWh of electricity to do just this.
In fact, 30% of your homes electricity bill comes from water heating.
There is a way to combat this expensive unsustainable “luxury”, and it comes in the form of solar water heating.
Installing a 39 gallon (150 liter) solar water heater will typically save around five kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day.
This will dramatically cut down your households electricity usage by about 30%.
Step 8 - Get yourself a solar generator (Bonus*)
If you live in the United States, then we are sure you have experienced a common blackout before. In fact, it probably does not matter where you live, blackouts are prevalent throughout the world.
Most people install a gas generator to combat the effects of a power outage. However, there is another more affordable, greener way to do the exact same thing.
For example, here is a table comparing the two technologies:
|Solar Generator||Gas Generator|
|Noise Level (7m)||7dB||70dB|
|Ease of Use||Press a button to start||Complicated start up|
|Environment||Zero CO2||500g/H CO2|
|Average Weight||59 Pounds||+55 Pounds|
|Running Cost||Zero||Ongoing costs|
Solar generators are cheaper over time and they emitt ZERO carbon emmissions, which is fantastic for the environment, but also for you and your families health.
Additionally, they have much less moving parts which means you won't have to spend so much time perforing maintenance on them.
Green Smart Home Conclusion
It takes commitment to own a green smart home, changing deeply engrained habits takes effort, it takes courage.
This 7 step guide to a more eco-friendly, self sustainable home is merely an aid, to help inspire your mind with creative ideas on how to give back to our planet and reduce your overall carbon footprint.
A few of these things cost money to implement, and this may cause self doubt, that’s normal!
Take the time to start with the easier to implement steps of this list, like cutting down on your meat consumption or reusing your green left overs.
With each step you are one step closer towards owning a green smart home!
If you would like to browse some of our solar generators, you can do so by following the link here.
Lastly, make sure to follow us on Quora, Facebook and Reddit where we answer your most important questions.