Eco-Friendly Smart Homes Are Good For The Environment

Each single day, individuals from all walks of life begin enjoying the various benefits a wise home provides. Money savings and convenience the list, however, clever house owners may also feel good their house makes Mother Earth grin.

If you have always wondered what makes a wise house"smart" and the way the intelligent house supports an environmentally aware lifestyle you have come to the ideal location.

Game Over: Death Knell for Fossil Fuels

As individuals, universities, investment funds, financial institutions, and even entire countries across the globe divest from fossil fuels, a new economic reality is emerging.  The writing is on the wall, and influencers ranging from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to Mad Money host Jim Kramer are chanting the rallying cry.

At Green Builder Media’s recent Sustainability Symposium 2020: Improving the Human Condition, Green to Gold and The Big Pivot author Andrew Winston made it perfectly clear that the game is over for fossil fuels. 

The Back Story: Labor, Materials and Land Costs

The triple impacts of a labor shortage, rising material costs and out-of-sight land costs has dramatically limited the number and types of new homes being built.

Home building has undergone massive changes over the last few years. Far fewer homes are being constructed now, at far higher price points. Home ownership has declined, renters are on the rise. Scarcity of housing, especially in urban markets, has inflated rents and home values, leaving a large segment of the population on the sidelines.

A Fundamental Reshaping of Finance: An annotated version of Larry Fink’s Bombshell CEO Letter by Andrew Winston

Larry Fink is the CEO of Blackrock, the largest asset manager in the world, with more than $7 trillion under management. Every year in January, Fink writes a public letter to the CEOs of the world’s largest companies. For the last 5 years, he has made the case for long-term thinking and sustainability. In 2016, he said that the “culture of quarterly earnings hysteria is totally contrary to the long-term approach we need.” By 2018, he was hitting hard on the idea of purpose and last year declared that “Purpose is…a company’s fundamental reason for being – what it does every day to create value for its stakeholders. Purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits but the animating force for achieving them.”

Why Awards Still Matter

They’re more than just a pat on the back—they steer the industry.

It’s easy to become cynical in these times of information overload. Does anyone really care about awards anymore? Aren’t we all so busy that we barely take time to look up from our phones and email and bills to applaud someone else’s success?

Making the Connection: Green Buildings and Transportation

Buildings don’t move, so what do they have to do with transportation? Plenty.

While green building designers, builders, and developers have little say when it comes to zoning, highway and street development, transit routes, or street connectivity; they have good reason to care about transportation. And they have a significant role to play in increasing transportation efficiency.

82 Million Reasons to Hope

At Green Builder Media’s recent Sustainability Symposium 2020, I delivered opening remarks that were intended to be both realistic and inspiring, pointing out the harsh reality of our situation while simultaneously outlining the many reasons to be hopeful about our future.

Amidst the unfathomable craziness that has become normalized daily life here in the U.S., I do my best to maintain some semblance of sanity. 

Heeding Comparative Mythology Professor Joseph Campbell’s advice, I try to joyfully participate in the sorrows of the world.  For, as Campbell says, “We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”

Megatrends Driving Market Transformation

At Green Builder Media’s recent Sustainability Symposium 2020, Andrew Winston, an internationally esteemed sustainability expert who works with the world’s largest companies, outlined five megatrends that are driving massive change in the business sector.

At Green Builder Media’s recent Sustainability Symposium 2020, sustainability expert Andrew Winston described the transformation that is taking place in the business sector—away from a singular focus on profitability and towards enhanced sustainability. 

“For decades,” Winston submitted, “companies existed just for shareholders, but things are changing.  Studies like the Edelman Trust Report show that 84% of investors agree that maximizing shareholder returns can no longer be the primary goal of a corporation.  There is a growing recognition that capitalism, for all of its strengths, really isn’t optimizing wellbeing.”

2020 Sustainability Awards: Green Innovations of the Year

This year’s outstanding products demonstrate how sustainability can be enhanced when cloud-based apps and real-world engineering smarts converge.

Once again, we honor an elite group of manufacturers and products that are making real progress in reducing the impact of the built environment on our natural inheritance. They range from super-efficient heating equipment—easing the transition to renewable energy sources—to water-saving leak detection and responsive pool pumps. Our hope is that products like these, with help from smart technology, and durable, responsible choices in building materials, will steer us toward more-sustainable lifestyles in coming years. Let’s take a look at this year’s winners:

2020 Sustainability Awards: Sustainable Cities of the Year

Although much of the world is actually losing ground in terms of CO2 pollution and resource waste, some American cities are showing that a carbon neutral future can be achieved NOW.

From simple steps such as EV charging stations and bike-friendly roads, to more-dramatic action such as changing building codes to phase out fossil fuels, this year’s three award-winning cities shine like beacons of hope. We give you three model cities, each achieving major strides toward addressing Climate Change, each on a different scale. Congratulations, Austin, Santa Fe, and San Luis Obispo!

We May Not Be Cooking with Gas Much Longer

Attending last week’s International Builders Show put on by the National Association of Home Builders, followed by a day at the fourth annual Sustainability Symposium put on by Green Builder Media, I can report the gas wars are heating up.

I’ll admit to former snobbery about cooking with gas. Fancying myself an accomplished home chef, I toed the party line. But moving into a home 10 years ago with an electric range, I had to adapt. Now I pride myself on expertly manipulating choices 1 to 10 on the dial. I’m pretty sure the pot of boiling pasta water doesn’t know the difference.

2020 Sustainability Awards: Sustainability Superhero

Industry stalwart Peter Pfeiffer’s four decades of building efficient, beautiful structures that are appropriate for their climates and locales has made an indelible mark on the industry.

When it comes to architecture, Peter Pfeiffer, Green Builder Media’s 2020 Sustainability Superhero, is a purist. Serious about the fundamentals of sustainable design, his mantra is quite simple: “Design the built environment to be appropriate for its climate and location.”

Use a Sensible, not Senseless Marketing Strategy

They say it may be the most overused cliché of all. You know it well: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Although the quote is generally attributed to Albert Einstein, there is no proof that he really said it. But whether it indicates actual insanity or merely foolishness, the act itself makes little sense.

VISION House Seattle Cascades: Triple Play

Energy, air quality and connectivity are key areas residential homebuilders need to address. The VISION House® Seattle Cascades project embodies all of them.

Green Builder Media’s VISION House Seattle Cascades aims to be a replicable pattern for high-performance housing, and by replicable, that means for all housing types—from affordable to custom off the grid. When the VISION House team members, including homeowner C.R. Herro, envisioned this project, they turned to Green Builder Media’s COGNITION Smart Data to double-check the planned characteristics and features of the house against emerging housing trends.

Green Builder Media Celebrates our 12th Annual Home of the Year Winners!

Green Builder Media congratulates the winners of our 12th annual Green Home of the Year and Sustainability Awards.  These exceptional projects, products, and people show us how we can solve for a changing climate and establish a sustainable future.

Each year, Green Builder Media’s Home of the Year and Sustainability Awards features the most innovative projects and products in the industry, as well as the people who build, design, and manufacture them.  This year’s winners delight and inspire, showcasing how creative thinking can result in optimized performance, aesthetics, and sustainability.   

Green Builder Media CEO Sara Gutterman on Channel 8 News

Las Vegas warmly welcomes Green Builder Media’s Sustainability Symposium 2020 in a news segment that ties the environmental efforts of Las Vegas with those of America’s leading media company for sustainability. 

Las Vegas is the setting for the gathering of eco-experts and professionals at the fourth annual Sustainability Symposium on January 20. In recent years, the city has made great strides in renewables, energy efficiency, and water conservation. 

Green Home of the Year and Sustainability Awards Announced

Green Builder magazine’s annual showcase of the best of the best includes SIP homes, stunning expanses of high-performance glass, and more.

Green Builder’s Home of the Year and Sustainability Awards program, now in its 12th year, shines the spotlight on cutting-edge green products, projects, and people. 

Building Industry Alert: THE Conference You Need to Attend To Succeed In the New Decade

Serious about catapulting your business forward? Understanding the role sustainability plays in the growth and success of the building industry should be your first order of business.

Spending a day hearing from esteemed sustainability experts and networking with building industry leaders at the Sustainability Symposium 2020 is an enjoyable way to start off Design & Construction Week. But, more than that, it is a crucial education opportunity for professionals who want to compete and prosper in the rapidly evolving construction industry.

Is the Business Roundtable Statement Just Empty Rhetoric?

October 23, 2019

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Experts say that we have ten years to change our ways before we enter into the Pyrocene, a new “fire age” induced by human activity that threatens to unhinge the planet.   Will the 2020’s marshal innovation that solves for the impending climate emergency, or will the next decade witness our dystopic demise, brought about by a Faustian agreement resulting from our greedy and short-sighted addiction to fossil fuels?

In 2015, Arizona State University professor Stephen Pyne coined the term, Pyrocene, describing a new Fire Age—the opposite of an Ice Age—resulting from our fossil-fuel based combustion economy. 

“By burning fuels from deep time,” says Pyne, “we are redefining the options available for generations to come. We are taking carbon from lithic landscapes of coal and petroleum buried in the geologic past, passing it through today’s living landscapes, and releasing it into the geologic future. Little of the planet is unaffected.”

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To solve the world’s biggest challenges, such as climate change and inequality, the business community will have to play a critical role. And we need CEOs who understand the challenges and want to drive deep change in how business operates. Last month, nearly 200 CEOs declared, through the Business Roundtable (BRT), that the purpose of business is no longer just maximizing shareholder profit. But are they ready to follow through?

On Tuesday, a new and important study on CEO attitudes came out, and it sheds light on how chief executives think about sustainability and other global challenges. Written by Accenture and the UN Global Compact, “The Decade to Deliver: A Call to Business Action” collects insights from more than 1,000 global executives. Published every three years, this report provides a deep dive on how CEOs view sustainability. I found reasons for both optimism and concern in the data, but at the very least, it shows that the BRT’s call for broader view of stakeholders was not a fluke.

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In an age where more companies are ‘dying young,’ innovation is the key to keeping your business around for another generation.

Who wants to live forever? For those of us who don’t, a long, healthy life, perhaps of about 90 years, is enough. In the mid-1920s, 90 years happened to be the average lifespan of a leading company. Ninety years for us, 90 years for our companies: a neat mirroring of our own existence in what we made manifest in the world.

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Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  That’s why Green Builder Media’s fourth annual Sustainability Symposium 2020, scheduled on January 20, 2020, Martin Luther King Day, will focus on the nexus between sustainability, social equality, and financial abundance.  The event promises to be our best Symposium yet, with a remarkable lineup of luminaries leading the transition to a sustainable future.

Green Builder Media is wildly excited about our upcoming Sustainability Symposium 2020: Improving the Human Condition, scheduled for January 20 at the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall  on the UNLV campus. 


In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued an important report about how dire the consequences of climate change are becoming, and how fast we need to move to avoid the worst.

The report’s beginnings trace back to 2009, when the annual UN global climate conference resulted in an agreement that the world should hold warming to 2.0°C (3.8°F) — a level that seemed politically feasible, but still leads to vast damage, including the death of all coral; even more deadly storms and heat; and rising oceans covering low-lying island nations and major coastal areas. By the time of the Paris climate meeting in 2015, which resulted in the more robust global agreement now supported by every country in the world except the United States, it was clear that we needed to consider a more ambitious target, 1.5°C (2.7°F). The UN then asked the IPCC to study what it would take to achieve that goal.


Rhiana Gunn-Wright, co-author of the Green New Deal, explains how the plan synthesizes sustainability, social justice, and economic prosperity.

Rhiana Gunn-Wright has accomplished more in 31 years than most people achieve in a lifetime.  Former Policy Director at New Consensus (an esteemed global think tank), 2013 Rhodes Scholar, and policy analyst for First Lady Michelle Obama, Gunn-Wright co-authored the Green New Deal, a resolution that was introduced earlier this year to Congress by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Edward Markey (D-MA).

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Green Builder Media has joined forces with CR Herro, VP Innovation at Meritage Homes, and internationally renowned architect Stace McGee to design and build the VISION House Seattle Cascades.  The goal of the project is lofty: to redefine sustainability and set a new standard for building green in the current marketplace by blending sustainability, quality, durability, intelligence, and wellness—all at a reasonable price point.

In this webinar, Herro and McGee will discuss the building science, sustainable design, and green building features of the VISION House Seattle Cascades.  The off-grid, net-positive, healthy home optimizes demand-side energy management and incorporates of the most advanced green building products, systems, and technologies available on the market today.

The webinar will also address the outdated price per square foot valuation metric and how we plan to more appropriately measure full cost through quality, performance, resilience, and environmental impact. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
1:00 Eastern

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Despite the fact that it has become a political hot potato, the Green New Deal, originally introduced by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Edward Markey (D-MA),  has broad bipartisan support.


I don’t usually play the futurist game — I’m more of a “presentist,” looking at the data we have right now on fast-moving megatrends that shape the world today. But a client asked me to paint a picture of what the big trends tell us about 2030. And I’d say we do have some strong indications of where we could be in 11 years.


Consumers now call the shots when it comes to specifying products for their homes, and they’re willing to spend more to save more.

Green Builder Media has been surveying readers for more than a decade, asking how much of an impact consumers have on product specification decisions. Ten years ago, builder and architect respondents indicated that homebuyers only influenced such decisions 10 percent to 20 percent of the time, and that was generally in categories such as appliances and finishes.

With COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s pioneering suite of market intelligence and data services, we’re able to track essential market trends, behavioral patterns, and purchase intent across audience segments and geographies.

We keep a close eye on a wide spectrum of elements that drive the market, ranging from consumer preferences that create market pull, to innovations, codes, and building professional attitudes that drive market push.

With COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s pioneering suite of market intelligence and data services, we’re able to track essential market trends, behavioral patterns, and purchase intent across audience segments and geographies.

We keep a close eye on a wide spectrum of elements that drive the market, ranging from consumer preferences that create market pull, to innovations, codes, and building professional attitudes that drive market push.

With COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s pioneering suite of market intelligence and data services, we’re able to track essential market trends, behavioral patterns, and purchase intent across audience segments and geographies.

We keep a close eye on a wide spectrum of elements that drive the market, ranging from consumer preferences that create market pull, to innovations, codes, and building professional attitudes that drive market push.

With COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s pioneering suite of market intelligence and data services, we’re able to track essential market trends, behavioral patterns, and purchase intent across audience segments and geographies.

We keep a close eye on a wide spectrum of elements that drive the market, ranging from consumer preferences that create market pull, to innovations, codes, and building professional attitudes that drive market push.


A perfect storm of labor, regulatory, land and materials costs have crushed the housing market to half its former size. Can data transparency revive the boom times?

Builders often take the heat for high housing costs. But often, they’re playing the role of reactors, not actors. That’s not to say there aren’t some operators out there who ask too much in terms of margins and do inferior work that’s destined to cause heartache for homeowners.
But by and large, these are not the readers of Green Builder. What’s facing our sector—the high-performance segment of the homebuilding industry—are powerful external forces, including labor shortages, radical tariffs on lumber, a dysfunctional lending system and populations migrating toward urban hubs.


In 2018, California passed a mandate that will require solar panels on most new homes and multi-family buildings beginning in January, 2020.  But as builders, installers, manufacturers, and homebuyers are ramping up to prepare for the directive, its future is in question.

The Golden State made history last May by passing a mandate that requires new homes to have solar beginning in January, 2020.  The ruling applies to most single-family homes, as well as multi-family buildings up to three stories (including condos and apartment complexes.)  Homes that are not suitable for solar (for example, those surrounded by large shade trees) will be exempt.


According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, over one quarter of Americans currently live in all-electric homes.  But that number is about to explode as municipalities from coast to coast phase out natural gas to tackle climate change.

According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, “Seventy million American homes and businesses burn natural gas, oil, or propane on-site to heat their space and water, generating 560 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.” 

But California, generally the harbinger of progress in the U.S., is changing the game, blazing a trail towards net zero emissions homes and buildings, as well as a completely carbon-neutral economy by 2045.

On Monday, President Trump officially began the process of pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, sidelining the world’s largest economy from crucial discussions about climate change—the greatest challenge of our generation, and the opportunity of a lifetime.

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The first casualty of secrecy is trust.  A recent New York Times article shines the light into a dark corner of the building industry.


It is not unusual nowadays to read an opinion piece written by someone who is lamenting the loss of things we used to take for granted, such as courtesy, good manners, consideration or professional behavior. It would be easy to point to particular figures of prominence, politicians, professional athletes, celebrities and so on, and make them the targets of our dissatisfaction but that wouldn’t be completely fair or honest.

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Ed Mazria, esteemed architect and founder of Architecture 2030, has been a leading zero hero for over a decade, calling for zero emissions in the built environment by 2050.  His seminal work has helped create a shift in the way we think about the world around us, impacting policy and programs across the globe.  Mazria will be presenting his goals and vision at our upcoming Sustainability Symposium 2020 on January 20, 2020 in Las Vegas.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the building sector accounts for nearly 40% of CO2 emissions each year—more than any other industry.  Commercial and residential buildings use more than 70% of total electricity use in the U.S.


Andrew Winston, sustainability expert and author of Green to Gold and The Big Pivot, holds nothing back when asking tough questions about our future.  A tepid approach, he believes, would be irresponsible—even negligent—since he avows that we’re out of time for timid responses and flaccid action.  His approach is bold and his vision is big.  With wakeup calls all around us, he wonders if we have the wherewithal to listen.

Green Builder Media is in the throes of planning for our fourth annual Sustainability Symposium 2020: Improving the Human Condition, scheduled for January 20, 2020 on the UNLV campus in Las Vegas.  Known for being one of the most compelling and thought-provoking events of the year, the Sustainability Symposium is designed to elevate the national dialogue about intelligent solutions for a sustainable future. 

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By improving site surveillance, worker safety and resource management, this flying robot technology could make construction greener and more efficient than ever.

Drones, once a hobby for a few enthusiasts, are now prominently featured across a number of professional fields. Today, delivery and cargo drones transport goods across increasing distances, military drones spy on enemy combatants, and ag-drones engage in precision farming.
More than any other industry, however, drones are being put to use on construction worksites, with their use surging by 239 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to drone software manufacturer DroneDeploy. Infrastructure work now makes up 35.5 percent of professional drone use, far ahead of the next two biggest drone-using industries, agriculture (25.5 percent) and transportation (10.2 percent).


It’s no coincidence that housing’s transition from fossil fuel-based heating and appliances to all electric concurs with the dropping per-watt cost of renewable energy.

I read recently that the city of San Luis Obispo, in Central California, is considering rewriting its building codes to support all-electric living. New homeowners will have to pay extra to install gas appliances, stoves, heater and dryers—and that money will be put toward carbon offsets. The goal is to help the city reach carbon neutrality by 2035.

For the past decade, Green Builder Media has bestowed Home of the Year awards upon a wide spectrum of remarkable projects.  But our annual awards program isn’t just limited to amazing green homes.  We also celebrate impactful innovations, sustainable municipal programs, and, my favorite, Sustainability Superheroes.  Do you, or someone you know, qualify for this prestigious distinction?

Since its inception over a decade ago, Green Builder Media’s Home of the Year Awards program has set the standard for recognizing excellence in residential performance, quality, intelligence, and sustainability. 


The building industry practice of driving cost out of new home construction to the detriment of long-term durability and energy efficiency is the worst way to build a house. VISION House® Seattle Cascades demonstrates a better way.

C.R. Herro is building a sustainable house. It isn’t just his dream house; it is the culmination of all he has ever learned about home building in the 10 years he has served the residential home building industry. Currently the vice president of innovation for Meritage Homes, he knows firsthand the tradeoffs that happen between cost and value, how to educate buyers on the importance of incorporating sustainability as a system, and how total value represents a better business model.

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From Puerto Rico to Alaska, communities across the nation are being rocked by extreme weather events and natural disasters, further exacerbating the already snowballing housing shortage.  Some communities in the bullseye of this season’s assault haven’t even had time to rebuild fully from last year’s calamities.  Something has to give.

It’s no secret that our country is facing a far-reaching housing crisis.  California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Washington are reaching a breaking point with respect to housing shortages and homelessness, with over 250,000 people living on the streets in those five states alone. 


Green Builder Media’s COGNITION Smart Data reveals the power of the consumer when it comes to IAQ purchasing.

Once the purview of builders who constructed houses for wellness evangelists or buyers with severe health issues, IAQ-equipped homes are now sought after by everyday home buyers, says new COGNITION Smart Data research: 

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Green Builder Media invites you to join us at our fourth annual Sustainability Symposium on January 20, 2020 in Las Vegas.  Focused on the nexus between environmental stewardship, social equity, and financial abundance, the event will highlight how sustainable development can optimize health and opportunity.

Martin Luther King said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” 

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Connected Living offers homeowners new levels of convenience, efficiency, and independence as our smart homes can now learn our behaviors and respond accordingly to enhance comfort and cost-savings. Thorough COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media is closely tracking key trends, market drivers, and innovations within the exploding connected living sector.

The proliferation of the connected living space is mindboggling.  Nearly 40% of Americans currently use smart technology in their homes.  65% of homeowners either own a smart home device or plan to purchase one this year.  Americans will spend $90 billion on smart home devices by 2023.  Once a homeowner purchases one smart home device, they are 70% likely to purchase another one.  And 60% of homebuyers will pay more for a smart home.


Water is the most pressing issue of our time.  If you’re in the building industry, it’s particularly important—simply put, if there is no water, there are no permits.  Rapidly changing water related codes, mandates, programs and pricing will continue to place new demands on the building sector, impacting every home and building. Green Builder Media is closely tracking the quickly advancing water sector with COGNITION Smart Data, revealing key trends, market drivers, and innovative technologies that can help solve for the growing water crisis.

Due to the combination of increased water consumption, climate change, pollution, poor infrastructure, and weak governance, nearly two-thirds of the global population lives in water stressed areas, making the need for innovative water solutions dire.


For many homebuyers, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has quickly shifted from a ‘nice to have’ to a necessity.  In fact, for some consumers, it is now as important as location when buying a home.  Green Builder Media is closely tracking the exploding market phenomenon of healthy homes with COGNITION Smart Data, and we’ve uncovered some interesting—and surprising—trends.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has historically been the equivalent to the hypothetical monster lurking under the bed.  No one quite understood it, and, even though people had an inkling that it was scary and worth paying attention to, they hoped that by ignoring it, they could simply wish it away.

What Is Smart Home Technology?

In the present world, there should be no denying that people will need to be environmentally friendly as a species. Going green and utilizing sustainable things is great for the environment, and it may help ensure the wellbeing of Earth. Many men and women care about the environment and would like to do their job to make matters better.

Smart houses are amazingly the latest frontier for green living. Throughout the past couple of decades, a lot of individuals have equated smart houses with technological elegance and relaxation. This is changing quickly, people begin beating the ways which you may create your smart house more sustainable.

One of the very best ways which you could accomplish so is by considering a number of the distinct smart home products which are available now. Let us take a look at a few of the ways an intelligent house can be ecofriendly.

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