You may separate your recyclables, take quick showers, and avoid using harsh chemicals, but we all know our individual efforts to save the environment go in vain if others aren’t following suit. Large-scale efforts like Harvard’s crop pollinating robobees and the promise of a driverless future give us hope for widespread adoption of green technologies, but we’re not quite there yet. This means it’s still up to us and our individual efforts to take care of our planet.
One of the biggest gripes homeowners have with going green is the amount of time and effort it takes to create and implement a plan for a greener lifestyle. Fortunately, there are consumer-facing AI technologies that can help people live a greener lifestyle by doing most of the heavy lifting. In fact, consumers don’t have to do much besides installing smart home products that automatically promote greener living.
Here are some of the emerging technologies that use artificial intelligence to help consumers do their part in preserving our environment.
Smart thermostats regulate energy consumption
Heating and cooling systems account for almost half the average residential energy use and demand a ton of energy. With a smart thermostat like Nest’s Learning Thermostat, you can save money and the planet.
Smart thermostats automatically adjust your indoor temperature setting based on external temperatures and humidity. The devices use a Wi-Fi connection to check outside weather and adjust accordingly. They also use fans to save energy whenever possible and report on your energy usage so you can become more efficient. Plus, a lot of smart thermostats will automatically adjust your home’s temperature depending on the time of day and whether you’re home. Nest even tracks user behavior and manual adjustments to help it learn and become better at adapting the temperature to its user’s unique needs over time.
If you regularly forget to turn down the heat before you leave for work, your smart thermostat will do it for you — saving you at least 10 percent on heating and roughly 15 percent on cooling per year.
Smart irrigation systems conserve water
American households use about 320 gallons of water per day, and 30 percent of that goes to maintaining their landscapes. Although there are certainly perks to keeping a lush, green lawn, you don’t have to do it at the expense of the environment. Smart irrigation systems can save up to 8,800 gallons of water per home per year, and 120 billion gallons across America.
Skydrop is a product that uses a wireless internet connection to stay up to date with local weather so it knows not to water your lawn during a downpour or right after a storm. Similar to Nest, this product gathers user data and learns from the customer’s preferences to create a schedule for optimal watering. Plus, this system isn’t just set on a timer. It uses technology to maintain healthy moisture in your soil. This helps consumers control their water consumption and avoid being the annoying neighbor with an eyesore for a lawn.
Smart pest control spares surrounding wildlife
While a consumer version hasn’t yet come to market, the commercial farming industry is using smart pest control to identify and fight specific insects without harming others. The technology uses image recognition to identify and treat pests without harming the natural environment surrounding the treated area.
The goal of this technology is to cut costs for the farmers themselves and the consumer and prevent issues like colony collapse disorder that’s happening with the world’s honeybees. Smarter systems also protect natural environments from unnecessary damage at the hand of harmful pesticides.
Although smart pest control is not available for retail quite yet, there are companies implementing similar technologies in their pest control services. Pest control service providers are now equipping their technicians with access to apps that allow them to identify questionable pests through image recognition. The technician simply takes a photo of the bug and uploads it to the app to find out what type of pest it is and what treatment method is most effective against it.
Ease of use could increase green habits
Going green is becoming easier than many consumers think, thanks to renewable resources, artificial intelligence, and smart home automation products. Although widespread solutions to reverse the effects of climate change are still on the horizon, household technologies like the ones mentioned in this article could prove to be beneficial in terms of encouraging more households to adopt green living practices.
Only time will tell if we are able to save the planet from climate change, but AI-powered solutions like these and larger initiatives offer at least a semblance of hope that we might be able to extend our stay here on Earth.
Elaine Thompson is a freelance writer whose work focuses on consumer technology, automation, and sustainability.