There are smart phones, smart cards, even smart foods. For many of us, â??smartâ? has become a generic term for the latest hi-tech gadget or the latest trend.
â??Smartâ? is actually an acronym for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology and usually refers to an electronic device.
Not too long ago, the “smart” home, where everything is controlled by speaking to a computer, was the stuff of science fiction. But now, smart technology is playing an increasing role in making homes more comfortable, efficient and eco-friendly. With digital controls and yes, even verbal commands, smart homes are becoming a reality for many homeowners.
Home, Smart Home
According to Vivint, the largest smart home company in North America, as of July 2011, 54% of their new customers in Canada and 48% in the United States had added smart home features to their basic security packages.
The Vivint system allows users to manage their homes from a mobile phone or an in-home control panel, including remote door locks, video surveillance, lighting, small appliance control and other functions.
Smart home technologies are easier to use and more affordable than ever â?? with full packages running around the same price as a cell phone plan.
â??Technology has reached a point where this type of wireless control system is possible, easy to install and use,â? says Philip Tsui, CEO and the Chairman of Skylink Group, another smart home provider.
SkylinkHome offers a system that allows complete control of the home with the push of a button. It will open your garage door, turn on the lights, adjust the heat, start the fireplace, warm your dinner – then greet you with a â??Hi honey, how was your day?â? and a perfect martini. Well, no, not the last part, but thatâ??s probably not far off.
By making it easy to turn off lights, heat and appliances and control timers and dimmers, a smart home system helps save energy and lower the electricity bill. It can also be used to control multiple locations â?? cottage, office and more â?? from one place.
Water Smart by Design
Promoted by governments, environmentalists and society in general, saving energy has evolved from concept to habit for most of us. But unless you live in a drought-prone region, saving water is something you might not have thought much about.
Water is a global resource, inextricably connected by a complex planetary system of oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, rain, snow, wind and myriad other sources and forces. Turning on a tap is a gesture that ultimately affects us all.
A few small, smart changes in your home can help significantly reduce the amount of water you use, save money and even add stylish design touches.
â??There is a full range of kitchen and bathroom faucets that will not only improve the look of your room, but will slash your water use by as much as a third,â? says Mark Wallace of the Stanley Black & Decker Hardware and Home Improvement Group.
Water saving kitchen and bath faucets donâ??t drip or leak and are engineered to stringent environmental standards for performance and efficiency. Using these faucets and showerheads can reduce water use by an estimated 113,500 litres (30,000 gallons), enough to fill an in-ground backyard swimming pool that is six metres by 12 metres (20 ft. by 40 ft.).
But even without installing new faucets you can save water these simple ways:
Save 1,900 litres (500 gallons) of water each year with aerators on your taps
Save 75 litres (20 gallons) of water per day for every leak fixed
Save 2,650 litres (700 gallons) per month by shortening your showers by one minute
Not only will you help protect the environment and sustain our water resources, youâ??ll also save money on your water bill.