Green Tech Makes Your Smart Home Sustainable

Supporting sustainable tech and increasing your environmental awareness can help turn your home into a sanctuary of safety by reducing uncertainty. And I was thrilled to see sustainability as a theme at CES 2021.

It got me thinking about how the smart home can seamlessly integrate with green tech to help us all collectively contribute to a more sustainable way of life. Whether this was through conscious efforts to reduce waste, give old tech new life, or introduce new products that help grow awareness of how humanity affects the environment.

Here are a few sustainable tech examples from CES 2021 that stand out.

Samsung Galaxy Upcycling at Home

Samsung gives a new lease on life to old Galaxy smartphones

In Samsung's presentation, the company talked about giving older Galaxy smartphones a second life through a program called Galaxy Upcycling at Home. As part of Samsung's program, you'll be able to update your old Galaxy phone to work as a baby monitor or home security system.

This helps address the issue of what to do with older phones after upgrading. While these phones might not run the latest apps and services quickly, they're still often more powerful than dedicated security devices. By recycling our older phones in this way, we can cut down on smart home clutter.

Many informed readers will rightly point out that there are already third-party apps that do this, like Alfred and Security Camera CZ. But to my knowledge, Samsung is the first major electronics company to provide this afterlife roadmap for its older devices.

Galaxy Upcycling at Home is probably not a complete replacement for home security equipment. But I'm hopeful it’ll work well as a budget alternative when Samsung launches the initiative in the future. Plus, you get the benefit of putting that drawer of old smartphones to work.

Light Bulb
Recycling your old smartphones

If you don't foresee a future where you repurpose an old phone, it's probably better off that you recycle it, which is a surprisingly simple process. For tips and tricks on smartphone recycling, we recommend checking out Android Central's comprehensive guide.

Hydraloop

Different approaches to water in the home

Another trend I noticed was a focus on how homes use a ubiquitous utility: water. Companies like Nudge Systems and Hydraloop have some intriguing ideas to help homeowners reduce water consumption.

The Nudge Systems Pleco sensor attaches near your water meter and gives you up-to-the-minute information about how much water you use and allows you to track and improve your habits over time. Because you know your day-to-day water usage, you won't have to reverse engineer your water bill for ways to enhance your water wisdom.

Hydraloop takes a different approach to level up your water-saving skills by recycling wastewater in your home. Wastewater, sometimes called greywater, is a byproduct of showering, washing dishes, and air conditioning. These activities require clean water, but that water's not necessarily useless after you use it.

Instead, Hydraloop cleans and disinfects wastewater for other uses like toilets, washing machines, swimming pools, and gardening, which the company says can recycle up to 85% of a home's water. Not only does this cut down on your water bill, but it helps save this increasingly scarce resource.

The Ampere Shower Power is another exciting piece of water tech from CES 2021. But rather than saving water, the speaker puts it to good use as a power source—think of it like a tiny little hydroelectric generator that happens to power a Bluetooth speaker. While there's still a small battery in the unit, you don't have to worry about the speaker losing charge as you hop in the shower.

If nothing else, these products show that there's always room for innovation and improvement with the ways we use water in our homes.

Leviton Smart Load Center

Smart electrical panels can change the way we use electricity at home

We’re also seeing changes to how we'll build or remodel homes in the future. The technology behind electrical panels hasn't changed much since electricity became an essential utility for billions of people.

Still, companies like Schneider Electric and Leviton are introducing new fuse boxes that help you monitor and tune your home's energy usage using your smartphone. By moving the focus to the fuse box, you have more control over your devices than any smart light switch or smart plug could give you.

Schneider Electric goes a step further by designing its Square D Energy Center to integrate with solar inverters, backup batteries and generators, thermostats, and meters. This electrical panel then uses AI software to manage your home's energy consumption.

Final word

The line starts to blur when you look at green tech and smart home devices in the context of sustainability. These technology types make it easier for the everyday consumer to reduce their carbon footprint when it used to require a lot of conscious effort to improve how your home consumes utilities. And further steps toward sustainable tech are inevitable.

The smart home isn't just about tech-ifying our homes for more convenience—it's also about informing us about how we fit into the world around us. How we use this information is ultimately up to each of us on an individual level, but improving our energy- and water-usage habits can help save a little money and a slice of the planet at the same time.

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John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist with over eight years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech. Before joining SafeWise in 2020, John was an editor for Top Ten Reviews specializing in home security and the smart home.