5 tech innovations to save electricity

26 May, 2016

Times are tough in SA. Between loadshedding, electricity price hikes, and unstable infrastructure, the cost of electricity is shooting through the roof. However, the latest tech innovations offer solutions to help save electricity for home and business.

We live in an increasingly connected world. New electronic devices and appliances can now be synced with the internet using a smart electricity meter to provide real-time data. This makes it easier to see where your business is using excess energy and, more importantly, where costs can be cut.

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Integrated apps also show your electricity consumption on your smartphone so you can monitor your business’ consumption remotely.

Bright(er) ideas
It may seem obvious, but the difference installing low-energy lighting can make is substantial. LEDs (light emitting diodes) have come a long way – and with today’s highest-performing lights consuming 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs, LED efficiency is the way to go.

LEDs have limited applications at this stage, but are ideal replacements for halogen downlighting. They save the most energy, and although they’re currently expensive, the cost is decreasing as technology evolves. LEDs are also brighter than incandescent bulbs.

Smarter climate
There are ways to handle the spike in electricity usage during the cold months. Smart thermostats are a great tool to help cut down on home and office energy use, as well as heating and cooling costs. For example, the Nest Learning Thermostat from Nest Labs — which comes from the designers of the iPod — adjusts the temperature based on your lifestyle and schedule.

Like the iPod, the thermostat is sleek, subtle and modern. Its stainless steel aesthetic makes it look like decor and it can be controlled via a computer or app and accessed on the go.

Adapt to the future
Energy and cost saving devices don’t always require sizy installations. There are many small changes you can make at the office or your home to help cut back your bills. Companies such as Belkin — known for their routers but are becoming a major player in the AC/DC power adapter industry — offer solutions to give devices the exact amount of power they need.

Described as a “digital handshake” of sorts between the device and the power supply, the adapter supplies only the necessary power for the device, and automatically cuts it off after it’s been met.

Power from the source
Solar energy is a free, clean and renewable source of energy. The cost of purchasing and installing solar panels may initially be expensive, but this can be recovered within a few years if solar energy is harnessed correctly. Solar panels last long and don’t require much maintenance, so this will help bring down your monthly electricity bill.

Large solar panels aren’t the only option. Smaller solar-powered appliances and peripherals can reduce electricity costs dramatically. For example, the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K570 eliminates the need for batteries, as it’s powered by any source of light, including regular lamp light and the sun. It can stay charged for up to three months in total darkness.

Brilliant tech innovations that reduce electricity consumption can go a long way to greening homes and office spaces – and to building a more sustainable, eco-conscious environment, no matter where we are.