Updated: Apr 25, 2019

Can you go full tech and stay eco-friendly? The answer is YES!


From solar power and automation to smart appliances and programmable thermostats, today’s smart home technology makes your home more efficient, smarter, greener and more environmentally friendly. New, innovative technologies make your life easier and more convenient, and sometimes can even save you money.


But how can technology help you become eco-friendly? It takes electricity to run, doesn’t it? Although that’s true, a smart home can go a long way assisting you in reaching your energy consumption goal. Wireless accessories offer you greater control over your home’s inner workings, making you more aware of how much energy you’re using and allowing you to manage it, ultimately saving you electricity and money.


Here's a few tips on becoming a tech nerd while still caring for the planet:


EnergyYour first stop on the way to building a sustainable smart home – the energy you use, how to minimise it and where it comes from.


Programmable Thermostats

Smart thermostats can reduce wasted energy – and money on those big heating bills. They're super popular and a great way to jump into making your home more energy efficient. Nest's series of smart thermostats is very beginner friendly – they learn your habits, producing a heating schedule based on when you're in and out of the house so you don't need to mess about with them manually too much. Plus there's hot water and cooling options, and a nice ecosystem of Nest products to build out your smart home. Maintaining consistent temperatures, and humidity levels in your home, is also great for the wood in your home, such as your doors, wood floors, windows and cabinetry.

$249, nest.com


WeMo Insight Smart Plug

Did you know that even though your coffee maker is off, it is still using energy simply because it is still plugged into the outlet? This device lets you catch those “energy vampires" in the act. Do you ever leave your house and wonder if you turned off all of the lights? The WiFi-enabled plug lets you control your devices from your smartphone when you are away and it even reports your energy usage. Another plus is that it works with Alexa.

$34.99, belkin.com


Motorized Shades

Motorized blinds can be opened and closed simply by touching a button, a remote control, or an app on a smartphone. They can integrate with smart thermostats to use the time of day, temp inside your house, and the weather outside to determine if open or closed blinds is the best energy use. When paired with smart lighting, smart blinds can help maximize the amount of daylight in your home to cut down on electricity usage. For example, opening the blinds can trigger smart lighting to turn off, and vice versa.



Water

The smart home headlines are all about saving energy and money, but once you've got your smart thermostat game sorted, it's time to turn to water consumption.


Hydrao Shower Aloe

The latest Hydrao smart shower head is designed to help you use less water. It lets you know the volume of the shower water you've used via LED lights that turn the water spray blue, green, purple and red. You can set the thresholds yourself – e.g. 10/20/30/40 litres – and view the water and heating savings in the app with a history of the last 1,000 showers. It doesn't need a power supply as it uses the water flow to generate power via a mini turbine – clever.

$81, hydrao.com


Wood

Getting into smart home tech can mean bringing a lot of black plastic beasts and other problem materials into your living space. A new trend is the use of wood! As well as being a sustainable option, you might also prefer the aesthetic, which you can enjoy without compromising on the connected tech.


Awair

This stylish smart air quality monitor tracks VOC chemicals, dust, CO2, temperature and humidity levels in your home environment, then gives you an air quality score out of 100 on its LED matrix display. You get personalised tips for how to improve the air quality in your home via the app and it connects to Alexa for voice controls and Nest. It's made from hand-crafted North American walnut timber and from 100% non-toxic natural materials.

$199, getawair.com



Updated: Apr 25, 2019


For thousands of years, cultures around the world have believed that a person’s energy is like perfume—once you come in contact with someone else’s vibes, good or bad, they tend to linger for a while.


And just like a date’s overpowering cologne might require a hot shower to remove, the best way to rid your space of any negativity you’ve inadvertently tracked home is through a cleansing ritual called smudging.



Where did the practice originate?


Burning sage — also known as smudging — is an ancient spiritual ritual.

Smudging has been well established as a Native American cultural or tribal practice, although it isn’t practiced by all groups. We have the traditions of many Native American peoples to thank for its use. This includes the Lakota, Chumash, Cahuilla, among others. Many other cultures around the world share similar rituals.


Cleansing


Smudging your sacred space, your home or office, or even your body with sage is like taking an energetic shower, or doing a deep metaphysical cleansing. The smoke from dried sage actually changes the ionic composition of the air, and can have a direct effect on reducing our stress response.


Some ideal (or necessary) times to sage smudge your aura and/or space would be:

  • When you move into a new living space

  • When you begin a new job or start your own business

  • Before and after a guest enters your home

  • Before and after a yoga or healing session

  • Before meditation

  • After an argument or any illness

  • Upon returning home from crowded situations


How burning sage works


Research has proven that burning sage removes a whopping 94% of bacteria in the air. When the researchers tested the air a day later, it was still clean. The smoke “smudges” the air in the room and the properties in the smoke kill most of the existing bacteria in the air. Unlike chemical air “purifiers” that only mask the smells in the air, sage is 100% natural and will not cause allergic reactions for people with scent sensitivities. It also smells great!


The importance of clean air


There are many reasons why people are concerned about the air quality in their homes. The primary reason is health related. Poor air quality can cause:

  • asthma

  • coughing

  • respiratory infections

  • headaches

  • dizziness

  • fatigue

  • lung cancer

  • heart problems

Don’t panic just yet! The chronic health issues mentioned happen as a result of long term exposure to polluted air. But, some of the health issues could be a result of the poor air quality in your home. Burning sage is a cost effective and natural way to clean the air and put your worries to rest.


3 steps to smudge your home


1. Stock up on sticks or loose leaves of dried ceremonial white sage. (Palo santo, a sacred Peruvian wood, and copal resin incense also do the trick.)


2. Starting on the lowest level of your space, move room to room and use your hand or a feather to waft the smoke into all four corners, where the ceiling and walls meet. Then, direct the smoke out through windows and doorways.

Once you’ve finished smudging, extinguish your sage by rubbing it in dirt or sand, on concrete, or stamping it out in a ceramic bowl. (Whatever you do, just don’t put sticks out in water—you won’t be able to use them again.)


3. Once you cleanse a space, the energy often neutralizes. At this moment, it’s important to fill the space with the energy of love. It's recommended bring in some fresh rose petals or spraying rose water.



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