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Green Your Digital Home

How Your Digital-Aged Home Can Also Be an Eco-Friendly Home

At first glance, it would seem that consumer electronics and green lifestyles couldn't happily co-exist. After all, electronics consume energy, while "going green" dictates a reduction in energy usage. So how could a TechHome-rated home also be a green home?

You might be surprised to learn that the two concepts aren't nearly as far apart as you might think. In a TechHome, home control systems can make your home more efficient and more intelligent about how it consumes energy and other resources -- while still allowing you to enjoy the conveniences and entertainment that today's technologies offer.

When building a TechHome, your first step is to plan and define its wiring infrastructure. With the help of your TechHome Electronic Systems Contractor (ESC), your home can become both connected and environmentally responsible.

A TechHome can manage and monitor your utility usage. Through structured wiring and a home control system including sensors placed on key system devices like electric meters, water meters, gas meters, domestic hot water tanks and oil tanks -- or renewable energy systems like solar panels, solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic panels -- you can understand just exactly what and how much energy your home is consuming. Research has proven that homeowners who understand both how much energy they use and the cost of that energy are more diligent about their conservation habits. The results of this awareness have been as high as a 40 percent reduction in documented monthly electric bills. Becoming TechHome-rated can empower your family with the knowledge you need to manage and control your energy consumption.

Another advantage of a TechHome is lighting control. A whole-house lighting control system incorporates logic into the operation of your lights; your lights and even your shades will respond differently depending on factors like amount of sunlight, time of day and even time of year. Lighting control also lets you set limits on dimmable lights, so you can even prevent your entire home from going over 80 percent output, which results in further energy savings.

Another popular option for the TechHome involves smart thermostats. A programmable thermostat allows you to create schedules based on your family's routine; a communicating thermostat is also programmable, but can react to other systems in your home when tied to a whole home system. For example, if your security system indicates your departure from the home, it can trigger the thermostat to adjust and lower its set point to increase your heating or cooling efficiency when away.

That's right: With a TechHome, you can do all of these things when you're not even at home. A TechHome can monitor and automatically adjust energy usage when you're at work or traveling; occupancy sensors connected to a control system can communicate to the lighting control system in a room and turn off the lights when empty. The system can also aggregate data to analyze your usage patterns of everything from electricity to water and, with programmed commands, shed high-consuming power devices during peak cost periods.

The net result is that you will enjoy a TechHome where electronics make your home energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, comfortable and safe. By working with a TechHome ESC to determine your green lifestyle needs and wants, your home control system can be actively, sustainably and intelligently designed with the most minimal of resources and with a focus on energy conservation and environmental responsibility.