Guest Post on Energy Savings by Madison Start-up ABODO

Today we have a blog post contribution from ABODO, a Madison start-up that is in the business of helping renters find an apartment as seamlessly and effortlessly as possible– a mission Solidarity Realty can really get behind full force! So without further ado, here is ABODO on how anyone can invest in energy savings that move with you:



Gadgets to Help You Stretch Your Energy Dollar


It’s humans’ defining feature to use technology to make our lives easier. And in today’s age, that also means cheaper. With the average U.S. household spending nearly $4,000 on energy costs annually and increasing global urgency to curb harmful fossil fuel emissions, it’s no wonder many companies are turning to technology to make existing products more energy efficient and create new products to reign in other areas of resource waste. From air conditioners to power strips, there are dozens of new products to make your life easier, your energy bill lighter, and your home a lot smarter.


Power Strips

This sounds like a classic, overdone solution. Chances are, if you were ever going to incorporate power strips to save energy, you would have done it by now, right? Well, there’s now a new generation of power strips that make it even easier to shut down “vampire loads” right at their source. To combat that “idle load energy” — when your electronics in “off mode” continue to add up to between 10% and 23% to your monthly energy bills — advanced power strips monitor the activity of your electronics. When the strip senses the activity has ended, it will automatically shut off your devices and cut power to devices in “off” mode. You don’t even have to remember to turn off the power strip.


Energy Switches

Along the same lines, installing energy switches at key outlets helps you track your energy usage. These monitoring devices are often just a pass-through plug, such as WeMo’s, and connect to your smartphone or tablet to show you energy usage and let you remotely turn the plug — and any connected devices — on or off, either manually or on a schedule. (In WeMo’s case, you can also connect them to Alexa for vocal commands.) They’re also movable, so after you have your air conditioner’s energy use reined in, you can move it to your TV or another location.


Window Air Conditioner

These “cool” devices have been on the market for a couple of years but have yet to gain the widespread esteem that they deserve, considering their Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone app controls and scheduling. Much like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Quirky + GE Aros smart window air conditioner tracks your usage compared to your daily energy budget, plus it can track your phone’s GPS so it knows when to start cooling your home.


Water Heater Controls

You might be noticing a trend at this point: By connecting their devices to smartphones and WiFi, appliance makers are handing consumers the controls they need to keep home energy costs down. In many cases, this means purchasing a new unit. But when it comes to connecting your phone to your water heater — that’s right, your water heater — all it takes is a simple retrofittable device, like Aquanta, and suddenly you’ll have remote access to boost your heating or to shut it down. Your phone screen will display how much hot water you have, a comparison of monthly and weekly usage, and maintenance alerts so you’re never blindsided by a cold shower. Plus, a “learning” function will optimize the heating energy for when you’re most likely to need it.


Window Shades

At nearly the same time every day, previously enjoyable sunlight streaming through your windows can suddenly become intolerably hot and blinding. All of this light beaming in can boost your cooling bill. But, that’s not such a problem if you have smart window shades, such as the Lutron Serena Remote Controlled Shades. Although they can be a bit costly, you can program these shades to open and close on a schedule. Plus, they take voice commands and can be integrated with smart thermostats and lighting.


Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.


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