Bit by bit we learn more ways to save energy and conserve resources. As Earth Day approaches for 2012, we thought we’d share a couple of products that help manage and save on two major household bills: heating/cooling and water:

The Learning Thermostat
Have you seen the Nest Learning Thermostat, created by a former Apple employee? As the man responsible for the hardware design on the iPod, Tony Fadell seems just the right person to have come up with an easy-to-use, smart, cool-designed thermostat. The Nest website states that the government estimates 50% of a home’s energy bill is at the control of the thermostat. Lots of us have programmable thermostats (myself included) – is yours programmed? Mine isn’t. It’s set to what feels right now and put on hold. Not very efficient.

Nest, however, learns the settings you want; each time you adjust it, it learns. And after a week it starts to run according to the habits you have taught it. If your schedule is different one day, no problem, there is a manual override. Left the house for vacation and didn’t adjust it? No problem; Nest is smart enough to sense when the house is empty and automatically adapts. But if you want to be sure, just connect via your smartphone and adjust it via the mobile app. Save energy and save money – Nest says the thermostat pays for itself in the first two years. And from there, it all goes straight back to your checkbook. To learn more, go to

Sprinkler Timers
Forget to water and your landscape investment starts to shrivel up. Or…..remember to turn on the water but forget to turn it off? If you’ve got some areas that you need to water but don’t need or want to invest in an installed sprinkler system, check out a sprinkler timer.

They are reasonably priced and install fast and simply to your hose bib. Then attach your hose to the unit, set the timer, and forget about it. Go on vacation and come back to beautiful flowers and fresh produce. There are many models on the market now and the one above is simply to give you a visual. It has the ability to connect two hoses on programmable settings and a third for manual operation.

We’ll continue to keep our eyes open for products worth sharing!