New Gadgets and Technology Make Your Home Comfortable

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Popular Science has come out with Best of What’s New 2014, the magazine’s annual list of cool new technologies that may (or may not) have a big impact on the world in the near future.

It’s one of our favorite annual features, and the magazine (well, these days, the tablet) gets passed around the office at Daffan Cooling & Heating–we love looking at gadgets and technologies that might shake up the HVAC industry.

Here’s our round-up of some of the Best of What’s New that we think could make homes and buildings more comfortable as well as help owners save money on energy costs:

CleanAlert Filterscan Wifi Air Filter Monitor

This device sounds really cool. It monitors the airflow pressure inside ductwork to identify clogged filters. Dirty filters can make the HVAC system less efficient, often raising costs for cooling by 15 percent or more.  If the CleanAlert device detects a possibly clogged filter, it will send the homeowner a text or email so they can check it out or have their Daffan tech come by and inspect the system.

Belkin WeMo Maker DIY Smart Home Adapter

We wrote earlier this year about devices for smart homes, using WiFi and cellular connections to run HVAC and other utility systems efficiently. It works great with modern appliances with built-in connectivity, but what about older machines? Belkin has created the WeMo maker, a device with a WiFi antenna and processor that can be hooked up to anything with a DC-powered switch. Imagine the possibilities: lights, powered blinds, coffee pots, crock pots … all can be turned on or off with a smartphone.

World’s Tallest Green Building Facade

Architects have created a 381-foot-tall green facade for an apartment high-rise at One Central Park in Sydney, Australia. It consists of a hydroponic garden of different plant species that embraces the building’s exterior, and a mirror system that directs sunlight away from apartment windows and onto shady spaces. This, along with an efficient power plant, helps reduce energy use by 25 percent compared to a conventional structure of similar size.

Nikken Sekkei BioSkin Building Facade

Another approach to keep high-rises cool and comfortable, the BioSkin uses collected rainwater fed through ceramic pipes covering the outside of a building to bring interior temps down by around 20 degrees. The Japanese inventors of BioSkin believe the facade could help reduce the urban heat island effect in big cities, helping to lower air conditioning costs for everyone, including neighboring buildings that are conventionally cooled.

Gorilla Clear Repair Tape

And how could we not mention a staple of the HVAC industry, good ol’ duct tape. Gorilla’s new clear repair tape is designed to not turn yellow in sunlight. This can come in handy for cracked window panes or damaged window openings that are allowing air to escape from the home. Just about everyone keeps a roll of duct tape in the house or car for temporary fixes–now you have tape that won’t be ugly and gray. Popular Science even suggests using it for covering a shattered smartphone screen!

Click here to see all of the Best of What’s New for 2014.