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For all you gear heads out there, there are some pretty cool ways to upgrade your home into a more energy efficient state.

The other day, I stumbled across the Wattbox. Currently undergoing field trials, the Wattbox is designed to control central and water heating. What makes the Wattbox unique is that it learns occupant’s habits. From Science Daily, “The Wattbox’s heating controller sets its own schedule by learning householders’ habits according to the times they use hot water and switch on electrical appliances. From this, it sets the thermostat to suit the householder’s lifestyle taking account of the outside temperature.” According to the Wattbox website, the overall energy savings from an installed Wattbox, was 15.7% in the winter and 34% during the summer months. That’s an incredible saving.

The next device I came across was called the DaySwitch. The DaySwitch focuses on reducing energy use by tailoring indoor lighting to natural light. The designer of the DaySwitch, Andrew Bierman said, “DaySwitch is an automatic device that will simply shut the lights off when there is plenty of daylight available.” The designers of the DaySwitch estimate that people who install their device could reduce lighting energy consumption by up to an impressive 30%. For some more great ideas, checkout this slide show from the 2009 Green Gadgets Design Competition.

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Unfortunately, while these gadgets are very cool and exciting, they aren’t widely available.  However, there are some appliances out there that are ready to be installed in your home. Smarthome, a home electronics store, has entire department dedicated to home efficiency. These devices include, but aren’t limited to, outdoor lighting that runs on solar panels, a combination microwave and convection oven that purportedly requires half the cooking time of a normal oven and a lint removal system for your dryer that helps reduce the amount of energy consumed by the appliance.

Finally, there are several companies that are designing software that helps homeowners monitor their energy consumption. One company called Lucid Design is developing software that helps people understand their consumption, and therefore make more informed decisions on power usage. Lucid Design Group‘s pilot programs have shown that real time feedback can reduce consumption by between 10% and 56%.

I haven’t been able to test these devices myself, so if anyone out there has any experience, or other great gadgets, please, let me know.

Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.