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Green gadgets can keep everyone honest - from laundry and kitchen appliances to apps which log showers and track overall water usage

In addition to conserving water and power, intuitive washing machines, dryers and dishwashers can determine when detergent supplies are low and order them online

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 June, 2016, 9:33am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 June, 2016, 9:33am

You wouldn’t buy any new resource-reliant appliance these days without checking its environmental credentials, right? The internet of things goes above and beyond the ratings labels of old, to make the manufacturers truly accountable.

It’s in the laundry and kitchen where the most energy-guzzling white goods lurk. Miele’s new Prestige range of German-engineered washing machines is more water-miserly than ever ­- using only 64 litres per wash - and can recommend how much detergent to use, based on the load size, to avoid wastage.  Environmental features of the accompanying tumble dryer include efficient heat-pump technology, as well as a SteamFinish function which reduces the need for ironing.

Whirlpool’s 2016 washing machines, dryers and dishwashers aren’t only designed to conserve water and power. These intuitive appliances can determine when supplies of detergent  are running low – based on the number of cycles run since the last purchase – and order them online via Amazon’s Dash, saving you at least one carbon-munching trip to the supermarket.

One of the foodie world’s must-haves of the moment – the slow cooker – enables you to prepare dinner using 70 per cent less energy than a stove. If you are stuck at the office and can’t get home to turn it off - or get a better offer, to go out for drinks instead, new Wi-fi-enabled appliances such as the  sous vide from Anova, and Belkin’s Crock-Pot have an app that lets you control the settings from anywhere, via smartphone.

Sony – the brand which brought the world a light bulb with built-in Bluetooth speaker last year - cuts a household’s carbon output by using power only when it’s needed. Part LED luminaire, part smart home hub, the new Multifunctional Light doesn’t need a switch to turn on – it knows when someone is in the room. Built-in sensors can also turn the TV on and off, act as an intercom for the whole home, and morph into a burglar alarm, sending out a message alert if movement is spotted when no authorised person is home.

By switching the home lighting from conventional incandescent globes to LEDs, more than 80 per cent energy savings can be made. The Multifunctional Light could also reduce your gadget count by at least one - the security system. It can also put on an impressive light show, to entertain the children. The product is scheduled to launch in Japan this year.

French start-up Ubiant takes the guesswork out of how much energy you, and other household occupants, are using – via a candlestick which can visualise energy consumption, and broadcast it via a different coloured light. This smart gadget has the capability to name and shame, by comparing your consumption with others in the Hemis-based cloud community. Hemis can then helpfully suggest energy-reduction targets for the household.

The artificial intelligence energy police are stepping into your shower. The Hydrao showerhead (also from France) has built-in LED lights which change colour to indicate the volume of water usage.

A thrifty ablution using less than 10 litres is rewarded by the showerhead glowing a pretty shade of turquoise. Flashing bright pink shows a profligate 30-litres plus. Its inventors say the aim is to make water-saving a fun game for children. The individual profiles you can create on the associated smartphone app, logging showers and track overall water usage, are designed to keep everyone honest.

When you’re done, finishing up with a hair dryer is a daily necessity. Dyson’s new Supersonic is billed as the smartest hair dryer ever invented - it spent close to US$43 million on product development - it’s also lighter, less bulky, and promises to deliver a salon-quality look with a smaller motor, set at a lower wattage. Tittle beauty saves power as well.