Welcome to our gallery featuring the best eco friendly products and options for smart homes today.
We love smart home devices and products, anything designed to improve your life and bring your home into the future.
Sometimes smart means new functionality, and sometimes it simply means sustainable. We’re looking at products designed to do both.
So what do we mean when we say “eco friendly” homes? The answer is both simple and surprisingly broad. When your home is made more environmentally friendly, it is improving in two very important ways.
First, the home is having a lower impact on the natural world than it did before. This means that it is using less resources producing less pollution, a two-fold improvement.
The second improvement is that when you use less resources, you typically save a lot of money. How much? The products detailed below can reduce your electric and water bills anywhere from 50% to 100%. That’s a radical improvement that will only get better over time.
For example check out the living roof on our top picture, featured above. Designed by Living Roofs Inc, a green addition like this can add untold value and savings to your home for years to come.
The only downside to making your home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly is the initial cost. It’s true that many of these products and improvements will take a considerable up-front investment, but the long-term savings will always far outstrip this cost.
We wanted to cover a comprehensive range of products that are designed to enhance homes in wildly varying ways. To cover the full spectrum of eco friendly home ideas, we’ve got one major example from each avenue of improvement that we could find.
If you’re going to be building a new home or upgrading your existing home, there’s no reason to not go eco-friendly. The cost will already be there, so a small increase won’t be as noticeable.
What will be noticeable in the long run, however, is the immense savings and your reduced impact on our natural world. There’s no better legacy you can leave your children and grandchildren.
We hope you enjoy our selections and feel inspired for your own home projects.
See more fantastic smart home products, check out our smart home technology ultimate guide!
1. SmartStrand Carpet
Unlike your standard carpets seen in homes and businesses worldwide for decades, SmartStrand is a refreshing change of pace that offers a step into the environmentally friendly future. It’s crafted with corn as a fundamental ingredient, processing extracted sugar into a key component of the fabric. This is spun into the SmartStrand fiber itself and tufted into beautiful carpet. The result is a highly durable yet totally natural carpet that’s perfect for families with young children and pets. The carpet is soft and stain protected as well, for a truly winning mixture.
2. Cork Flooring
Cork is basically the ultimate “green” flooring material for a number of reasons. It’s natural and extremely renewable, lightweight, and versatile. The durable material is healthy for occupants, safe and cushioned, and comfortable to the touch. Nicks and scuffs are easily disguised and often disappear naturally through use, as will dents from furniture. Cork flooring simply bounces back from most of life’s hazards. Even better, it’s resistant to mold and mildew, being an anti-microbial material. Basically, cork can be as versatile as you want while retaining an environmentally and human friendly aesthetic.
3. Dual Flush Toilets
A little known fact about toilets is that they actually use more water than any other fixture in an average home. Depending on the age of your existing toilets, they may account for up to 27% of the water use in your house! A simple upgrade from virtually any older toilet to a new model will drastically reduce use, but the best option is a new dual flush toilet. The best part is that your plumbing remains the same when performing this upgrade.
The dual flush toilet has two options: one for liquid waste, and one for solid. This means that you will use a much-reduced amount of water for liquid flushes, conserving the resource. The toilet uses a new mechanism for flushing in either case, making it more efficient no matter what you’ve got going on. There are kits for upgrading existing toilets, or you can purchase an entire new model, depending on your budget.
4. Eco Friendly Paint
When you’re considering an environmentally friendly upgrade to your home, paint might not be the first or even last thing you consider, but it’s a surprisingly important facet. No matter what color you choose, you can get “green” paint by keeping a sharp eye out. The familiar fresh paint smell of the conventional type consists of greenhouse gases and harmful chemicals that are released into the atmosphere – and your lungs – when the paint is applied to a surface. Eco friendly paints will emit little to no similar smell, and contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These paints will be free from many common ingredients, including toxic biocides, fungicides, and more. There are even environmentally safe pigments to make your color choice better.
5. Bioethanol Fireplace
Did you know that you can have a more environmentally friendly fireplace? We were surprised ourselves. Units like the one pictured below run on bioethanol, a denatured alcohol also known by the term methylated spirits bioethanol. It’s a completely renewable energy source made from the fermented sugar and starch components of plant byproducts, including sugarcane, corn, potatoes, milk, rice, and even grapes and other fruits. The combustion of bioethanol is so clean that you can completely ditch the chimney and flue, keeping heat directly in the room. There is no smoke to speak of, and it’s leagues safer than a standard wood burning fire.
6. Geothermal Heat Pump
Did you know that up to half your home’s energy can go toward maintaining a comfortable interior temperature? This is one place in which better, modern technology can truly improve your energy efficiency, resulting in a lower cost of living and a more comfortable home. Geothermal heat pumps work by tapping into the much more consistent temperatures under ground: no matter what your climate is, the ground maintains a more consistent temperature than the air above.
WaterFurnace geothermal systems tap into this free and consistent energy source with what’s known as an earth loop. The technology provides both central heating and cooling by running both through underground pipes and back up into your home. The units themselves have a high initial cost, but will result in longterm savings and a much lower impact on the environment than a traditional heating and cooling setup.
7. Green Roofs
These unique structures are also known as living roofs. Green roofs are just about the epitome of “green” upgrades for the home, in a couple of ways. First of all, as you can see by the photo below, they are literally green with fresh living plants and grass. Secondly, they help insulate the home, reducing energy costs. Beyond this, green roofs will help manage stormwater by retaining excess water, absorbing it into the plants. Air quality will be improved, while urban heat island effects will be reduced. It’s an overall win for the environment and your wallet in the long run, especially if you live in a more urban environment where garden space may be scarce.
We all know that insulation is an important aspect of keeping your home both comfortable and energy efficient. What you might not know is that there are new and improved options for making your home much more environmentally friendly. Enter Icynene. This spray-on foam insulation is made from castor oil, and can be simply sprayed onto walls and ceilings at a paint-level thickness. Once it’s attached to the surface, Icynene expands to nearly 100 times its volume, creating a sponge-like substance that results in a thick blanket of insulation. The substance seals air leaks, stopping drafts and muffling noise. It will also prevent mold from forming, a healthy bonus. Because it’s so air-tight, you’ll need a complementary ventilation system.
9. LED Light Bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs have long been the standard in homes, but that gave way to compact fluorescent bulbs in recent years. However, the newest and most efficient technology on the block is LED. Light emitting diodes have been around for a long time as well, but have only recently been transformed into a viable option for lighting our homes. They are more efficient, longer lasting, durable, and versatile than either previous bulb standard, lasting years beyond their peers. They’ll use less energy and can be shaped into unique designs. Although the up front cost is higher, they’ll yield savings far beyond any other bulb on the market.
10. Sky Lights
Skylights, as you probably know, are simply windows in the roof. But instead of merely offering an aesthetic enhancement, they can improve the efficiency and environmental friendliness of your home. They provide natural light in spaces where it might not normally penetrate, deep in the home. They also can add an extra boost of heat when the sun is shining. A skylight must be properly sized and positioned, of course, to not provide too much sun, or you’ll end up spending more to cool your home. As they are manufactured in a variety of sizes and styles, there’s the perfect option for your lifestyle somewhere out there. With a bit more up front cost, you can find Energy Star® labeled skylights that can improve the energy efficiency of your home with special glazing, shading, venting, and other options.
11. Solar Hot Water Heater
While a conventional hot water heater uses electricity or natural gas to warm the water in your home, providing heat for showers, dishes, and more, they drain a whole lot of energy. New solar hot water heaters use the sun’s natural heat and energy to efficiently heat your home’s water supply both directly, transferring the sun’s thermal energy, and indirectly, by collecting energy like a normal solar panel. The heated water then stays in an insulated tank until it’s ready for use. While the initial installation cost is higher than a traditional unit, you’ll end up saving between 50 and 80 percent on your water heating bills in the long run. As long as you’ve got sufficient sunlight in your area, it’s a very worthy consideration.
12. Solar Panels
There are three types of modern solar panels for your home, each with different levels of efficiency. The first type, monocrystalline silicon, is the most efficient. In other words, these panels make the most electricity from the same level of sunlight. Ideal for rooftop installations, they’re easily identified by their high silicon content, revealed by square shaped cells. Polycrystalline silicon panels have lower silicon levels, and are accordingly less efficient, but are much less expensive to produce. They have a more groovy, woven look, and are thinner. These aren’t as much recommended for home use.
A third kind is becoming more ubiquitous on residential homes for its unique look. BIPV (building integrated photovoltaics) can look like standard roofing tiles, providing a handsome and frankly seamless look for your home. They are more attractive but can cost more than the standard mono type. They’re a little less efficient as well, so we recommend them only for people who live in very sunny areas with little shade.
13. Satellite Controlled Sprinkler Systems
Here’s a new smart home technology that we were previously unaware of. WeatherTRAK solutions combine controllers with both cloud-based applications and services to completely automate the irrigation schedule of your yard based on landscape parameters. What this means is that you’ll be able to use computers to quickly establish the optimal watering schedule, matching the water budget for each zone of a landscape perfectly. This means reduced water waste and, once it’s been fully programmed and set up, a hands-off operation of your irrigation system. The smart controllers receive site-specific weather data daily via the internet, enabling the computer to manage your watering system and provide superior functionality and efficiency. There’s a lot going on here, so much that we advise reading up on the company’s site, linked below.
14. Home Wind Turbine
There was once a time when windmills were the biggest industrial power generator in the world, the peak of technology. After passing out of favor for centuries, they’re now being manufactured to high efficiency specs, and available in much smaller packages for residential use. If you’ve got a windy plot of land and available open space, a small wind electric system could be the most cost effective addition possible to your home. With zero emissions and no pollution to speak of, wind turbines are the most environmentally friendly power source available today. With one of these installed, you can lower your electricity bills by a wide margin, depending of course on wind availability. You can also install one at a remote location, negating the need to run expensive power utility poles. Even better, you’ll never be fully without power even in the event of an outage in the area. You’ll want to check your local zoning laws before installation, of course.
15. Eco Friendly Windows and Doors
If you’re going to be upgrading the windows and doors of your home, eco friendly options are the only way to go these days. They are available in the full range of sizes and styles as any normal window, and will be just as beautiful, but far more efficient. It’s incredible how much of an effect windows and doors can have on your home’s energy efficiency and temperature comfort level. Whether you’re purchasing smart windows, with automatic tinting, or simply new models with layered construction that better insulate your home, there’s no wrong option. Even better, the best models can reduce noise from outside and keep your heating and cooling bills to a minimum.