Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SMART gadgets = SMARTer consumers

SMART gadgets = SMARTer consumers

June column, published in "Cities Unite."
By Brett Marlo DeSantis, Accredited Building Construction and Design Professional. Contact her at

Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets, oh my! And smarter than ever, at least that’s what they have named them – SMART gadgets.

You may ask (and I hope you do) if electronics are really smart. Do they show a quick-witted intelligence?

In the tech world, SMART often refers to self-monitoring, analysis and reporting technology. SMART is also known to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Now that’s an acronym that defines today’s gadgets.

Whether it’s a plug, an outlet, a strip, a switch, a thermostat, a meter or an appliance, they are all smarter these days.

Want to know what appliance is costing you the most each month? Is that compact fluorescent bulb really saving you energy and money? How much does it cost to charge your phone? These gadgets tell all and are geared for both residential and commercial use.

See your environmental impact in real time. Make energy saving decisions in real time. Save money in real time.

Smart Plugs literally plug into your existing wall outlet and measure the exact amount of energy consumed by a specific appliance or device on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. This information is available on your computer or wireless device.

You now can adjust your thermostat from your phone! It is amazing that you can see what is happening in your home from anywhere, modify your thermostat, set a vacation schedule, change your preferences and view reports online.

These smart thermostats account for elements such as the weather, square footage of a home or building, the number of occupants in the space and the type of HVAC system.
Your utility companies can even communicate with you via your energy display and notify you about price changes, critical conservation periods and more.

When a simple thermostat won’t do the trick, you can opt for an energy management system.

Commercial spaces will benefit from the use of energy management systems. You can see what is happening in your building from anywhere, manage multiple thermostats and locations, modify programs and view reports on performance. Remote sensor modules allow for refrigerator and freezer monitoring.

SMART appliances are hitting the market. You can connect to your refrigerator while away to see if you need eggs while at the grocery store.

You can wirelessly connect to your washer to start or pause cycles or just find out the status of your latest load of laundry. Why not have your dryer alert you via phone when the clothes are ready to fold so you don’t have to run it an extra cycle to get the wrinkles out?

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if your heater alerted you that maintenance was required before it broke, or the filter needed to be changed?

Next-generation appliances are smart enough to know to run high-demand cycles during low-cost times of day.

Well, it often takes seeing something to believe in it. Electricity use is no different.
So what’s so smart about these gadgets? They make us smarter by using them.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Thank you for voting us Best of South Sound 2012

Thank you for your vote! Because of you, Brett Marlo Designs won Best of South Sound 2012 for Best Kitchen and Bath Designer. We cannot thank you enough for letting us know how much you appreciate us. Now it is our turn to let you know how much we appreciate you!

We have thought of ways to thank you... you'll have to call us to find out!