26 January 2018
The houses of the future are likely to be incredibly eco-friendly, moving away from construction using traditional clay bricks and shunning CO2-heavy manufacturing processes that are no friend to the planet. So you can look forward to a home made of building blocks constructed from natural cement created by bacteria, or even formed from fungi, as several companies are currently researching the potential of using mushroom-base materials in future home creation. A smart home reduces the burden on the earth’s resources by using them as efficiently as it can, and wherever possible materials are reused or recycled.
But is smart home technology really that clever? The growing number of internet connected home appliances and devices may offer a reduced carbon footprint, increased convenience or potential cost savings, but security risks are also a concern due to the potential of these remotely managed devices to be hacked. And what happens when the network that powers these things goes down?
From robot butlers and smart ovens, to securing your home from your phone, programmable lights and thermostats and even beds that track your sleep patterns, intelligent home automation is becoming an everyday reality as hardware prices have decreased dramatically over the past few years, making smart devices much more affordable.
“The global sensor and device market for home security and automation is expected to grow from $1.4bn in 2015 to $4bn in 2019.” ABI Research
Harnessing the sun’s energy to keep you warm and heat your water, natural ventilation also keeps you cool in the summer. And living in a smart home means using energy efficient appliances, heating and lighting.
The US Environmental Protection Agency found that consumers could reduce energy usage by 10 – 30% by using programmable thermostats.
Smart homes also use less water, which is a limited resource, and by reducing our water use, as well as building in ways that minimise earthworks and protect native plant life, we help to safeguard the ecosystems in rivers and other waterways.
But ultimately, it’s up to us to use our smart home technology in the most energy-efficient way – for example, not leaving TVs on all day, and adjusting heating and cooling schedules. Because without us taking responsibility for our own energy usage, even the smartest of homes won’t be able to reduce our carbon footprint by much.
As smart homes become a reality, there will potentially be millions of new devices that will need to be updated and kept safe from hackers, so the importance of responsible computer recycling has never been more vital, if you want to keep your personal and organisational secrets to yourself. So if your company is one that is committed to the ethical recycling of its obsolete computers and technology products, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration, to ensure ultimate data security. It’s also important to be aware that companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Be sure only to use a computer recycling company that operates in accordance with, and preferably exceeds all government guidelines such as the WEEE Directive and the Data Protection Act.