Go Green this Holiday Season

Give the gift of energy savings with new, smart technologies.

Technology is shaping the way we use energy in our homes from smart power strips, to thermostats, to lightbulbs. So why not put your holiday gifts to work this holiday season? New, smart technologies save money and energy—leaving a cleaner planet for future generations.

MGE is committed to helping our customers become more energy efficient. Under MGE's Energy 2030 framework, we are increasing renewable energy resources and working to further decrease carbon emissions.

Let's take a look at some smart energy-saving gift ideas. Smart home technology can be automated and/or controlled remotely via a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Smart lightbulbs

Smart lighting puts the controls at your fingertips. For the couch potato in your life, it's easier to tap a smartphone screen than to get up and walk to a wall switch. For the security conscious, they can ensure their outdoor lights go on at dusk.

Smart bulbs use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and a variety of technologies to work, making them more expensive than traditional bulbs. But they also save energy and money and have a lifespan of 20+ years.

We recommend a little research to find which bulbs fit your preferences. Some bulbs connect through a home automation hub, some connect directly to your phone or tablet via Wi-Fi and some use Bluetooth.

Depending on the bulbs and systems, smart lights can:

  • Automate lights to make it look like someone is home when they are away.
  • Turn off lights when people forget.
  • Change colors and even sync lights to music or games.

Smart power strips

Many homes have multiple TVs and computers, all connected to various devices. While these electronics are packed with features, the energy consumed by all these gadgets can add up to 6% of a household's monthly electric bill. Many people forget to turn off their devices when not in use, and many electronics continue to draw power after they've been turned off.

Replacing conventional power strips with smart power strips can help reduce the electricity wasted when these devices are idle. It's automated, so it's simple.

Advanced power strips prevent electronics from drawing power when they are off or unused. Different types of strips can fit different people's needs. For example, if someone often falls asleep when watching TV at night, an activity monitor smart power strip can turn everything off.

Check out this fun infographic from the National Renewable Energy Lab to learn more about power strip features.

Smart thermostats

Thermostats are the command center to a home's heating and cooling system. Smart thermostats are the most advanced. They analyze data to automatically adjust how a home's heating and cooling system operates for increased comfort and energy efficiency.

Smart thermostats vary widely, so MGE experts recommend that you look for the specific features that may interest your holiday gift recipient. Different features can:

  • Report on the cost to run your heating and cooling systems and coach you on how to save more.
  • Detect problems with heating and cooling systems, such as temperature alerts to avoid frozen pipes.
  • Learn your preferred settings and automatically schedule temperature changes.

Most smart thermostats cost about $150 to $250. Visit Focus on Energy to learn about a $75 smart thermostat incentive offer available to MGE customers with some qualifications.

published: Oct-30-2017