Advancing technology has contributed greater ease and reduction of expense in both time and money. It has afforded us the highest standard of living in human existence in every aspect of our lives, including the ability to lessen our impact on the environment.
Here are eight green technologies we have developed that have improved our living conditions and our environment. There are others, but these eight represent the most simple and inexpensive to those with the greatest impact on reducing our environmental impact, all while making our homes more convenient, energy efficient and comfortable:
LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs may reflect a higher initial expense, but compared to the shorter life of older technology incandescent bulbs, the per-hour consumption of electrical power used by LED light bulbs is much less, making the long-term investment a lower cost.
Typically, their smaller size means that the overall visual impact of our inside and outside lighting can be reduced in size. Floor, table, wall and ceiling-mounted light fixtures can be far less obtrusive than their incandescent counterparts. LED light bulbs provide a wider range of light frequencies, meaning that the light provided is more natural than either incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
Rechargeable batteries, like LED light bulbs, carry a higher initial expense than do regular batteries, but the ability to recharge them for extended use means that outright replacement of rechargeable batteries is necessary only after many recharge cycles. This must still ultimately occur, but the life of rechargeable batteries is counted in years instead of months.
The ability to recharge batteries has also provided a benefit in miniaturization of batteries. Devices once requiring larger, disposable batteries, such as watches, hearing aids, smart phones and cameras are now powered by smaller batteries that allow the devices to reduce significantly in size making them virtually invisible to the casual observer and more comfortable to the user.
Power adapters are now available for standard electrical outlets that limit the supply of electricity to the plugged-in device to just what it needs to function. Many wired devices for our homes actually need less power than provided by the commercial electrical grid. These plug-in power adapters can sense the power need of whatever device to which it is attached and will limit the electrical supply to just that need, reducing the expense of use and extending the life of the device.
Solar power is a natural power source we have used for thousands of years. We have learned to transform that source into an efficient provider of enough power to operate our homes. We are continually advancing this green technology for greater efficiency and increase of power with easier and less expensive materials and installation expense.
Solar-reflective roof materials are gaining in popularity, proving their benefit with reduced energy costs of operating our homes. They are adding to our ability to provide shelter with less negative impact on the environment such that while our consumption of energy may increase, we actually reduce our environmental effect. Traditional roofing materials may absorb sufficient heat from the sun to raise its temperature to 150º F. Solar-reflective material can reduce that by one-third or more.
Green insulation materials may be inconvenient to exchange for traditional materials used in existing homes, but new construction and extensive remodeling can benefit from their use. The recycled use of natural materials with insulating capacity that equals or exceeds that of fiberglass just makes sense and cents.
Smart appliances are providing abilities we once thought the stuff of science fiction. No more. Refrigerators that can adjust their power consumption to the conditions of their environment, as well as sensing when you need to buy more milk and butter – and place the order! – are becoming reality in ordinary homes.
How about controlling your lights and heat, and perhaps even your coffee brewer from the convenience of your smart phone, even when miles away from home, let alone in a different room in the house? The convenience is obvious. The reduced cost of energy will ultimately fill your pocketbook.
These energy-saving and energy producing green technologies are revolutionizing our lives. Home entertainment has taken an entirely different role than in generations past. Someday, somewhere, we may find a green technology home that is entirely self-sufficient, making its own power and even reducing the power it needs while providing the age-old need of shelter in the most luxurious, efficient and cost-effective means possible for its inhabitants.