Nest at HomeSmart thermostats are all the rage in the worlds of home improvement and energy efficiency. Smart thermostats now allow homeowners to control and adjust the temperature of their home from the convenience of any smart phone or device such as a tablet or laptop with a wireless internet connection. While these devices are expensive, they can actually be quite beneficial and will save you a significant amount of money on your energy bills each month. If you are still unsure about whether a smart thermostat is right for you and your lifestyle, here are a few factors to consider.

The first thing to consider when looking into smart thermostats is your schedule. Smart thermostats are ideal for people with very irregular schedules who may not be able to program a thermostat regularly on the same schedule each day or even each week. When you invest in a smart thermostat, you can set your thermostat no matter where you are as long as you have access to the Internet. This is great if a meeting runs over or if you forgot to turn the heat off when you left for the day. Having this convenience ensure that you are not wasting energy when no one is in the house.

A smart thermostat, however, is not necessarily for everyone. If you work from home or are a stay at home parent, you do not often have the problem of not being able to adjust the thermostat from your home, so you may not be able to take full advantage of these features on a smart thermostat. Also, a programmable thermostat may be best for a homeowner who falls in between having a sporadic schedule and being home for a majority of the day. If you work a regular 9-5, you may benefit from being able to pre-set your thermostat ahead of time. While you will not have the ability to control the thermostat while you are away, you can enter your typical weekday and weekend schedule so that the thermostat will automatically turn on or shut off when you plan to be home or out at work.

Next, consider your energy bills. If your energy bills are under control and affordable, a programmable or smart thermostat may not be necessary for you. This can often depend on your area’s climate and how cold or hot your home gets during seasonal changes. However, if you are like most homeowners, heating and cooling costs can become quite outrageous, especially as energy costs are skyrocketing. Investing in a smart thermostat may seem like a big jump since they are often expensive, however you will often earn back the money you originally invested in just a few months due to the significant savings you will enjoy. When you have more control over your thermostat, you can ensure that energy is not being wasted when people are not home to enjoy it. Cut down on your costs while also helping to reduce your carbon footprint and negative impact on the environment with a smart thermostat.

Smart thermostats are not necessary for everyone, but if you have an on the go lifestyle, or if your schedule changes regularly, you can seriously benefit from the luxury, convenience and effectiveness of a smart thermostat in your home. Once you decide to install a thermostat, you can research how to choose a contractor to install the device properly. When you switch from a conventional thermostat to a smart thermostat, you will immediately save money by reducing energy waste while also helping the environment!

photo by: brendan-c


Climate Question Time @ Islington South & FinsburyThe history of the debate on climate change in Australia is long and winding – and, essentially, it all ties in with the carbon tax, which has recently been renamed the ‘climate tax’. Moreover, in light of the recent bush fires in the Sydney area (which expanded into all of New South Wales), several voices rushed to criticize the Coalition’s stance on climate change. Most notoriously, deputy Greens leader Adam Bandt came in for severe criticism, after he shared an objectionable image via social media, which linked the ruling party’s decisions with the spread of the fires. Meanwhile, late October saw most of New South Wales under bush fire threat, as the climate change debate took a back seat in the face of the unfolding drama. In the following, we explore Australia’s latest bush fire crisis and delve into the Greens’ arguments against Coalition climate change policies.

Climate change and bush fires: a link worth questioning?

To most of the world, denying the realities of climate change might seem like an unlikely candidate at a popular view – but in Australia the situation has been further complicated by a political issue. When the Labor party decided to introduce the carbon tax, as a measure for addressing the budget deficit, they pleaded the climate change card. Many industry representatives rushed to argue against any environmental issues in Australia, although the population Down Under is, by and large, ecologically-minded. In one of the world’s most sun-blessed countries, many inhabitants opt for green lifestyle alternatives, such as solar panel power systems and fold down clotheslines to replace CO2-producing technologies for drying their clothes. At the same time, many believe that blaming bush fire season on climate change is the former ruling party’s attempt at justifying their fiscal decisions.

Where does the truth lie? According to the former Climate Commission, the link between global warming and the very early start of the 2013 bush fire season in Sydney is obvious. Australia saw the hottest year in its recorded history and recently released data from the national Bureau of Meteorology says the fourth warmest spring in history gave way to its hottest winter, closely trailed by the one in 2005. In the meantime, the political battle raged on, in the upswing to the Federal elections. However, as numerous analysts noted, it was an election campaign from which the ecological agenda was tacitly absent. In the aftermath of the election, however, that silence was notoriously broken by the Greens.

Are the Greens fanning the fire for no good reason?

In mid-October, deputy party leader Adam Bandt of the Australian Greens tweeted a picture, which he captioned by saying that, should the Coalition maintain its current environmental policies, is just the beginning of an ecological disaster for Australia. Band came in for numerous harsh critiques over his statements, but did not back down. He reprised his arguments and claimed the time has come for Australia to acknowledge the very overt connection between climate change and bush fires. He also expressed his concern about the debut of the fire season as early as October.

The fires started on the very same week when, according to Bandt, Australia took a backward step in terms of the struggle against global warming. Bandt acknowledged the fact that his arguments would strike many as uncomfortable, but said that the anxiety over the recent fires in New South Wales would only amplify, if the issue of climate change continues to be swept under the rug by the ruling party. The Greens party leader, Christine Milne, took the stand in support of her deputy and criticized Abbott for having “[boasted] dumping climate action”. Of course, Environment Minister Greg Hunt was less than pleased with the statements and asked the Greens not to politicize the tragedy in New South Wales. Where do you think the truth lies in this thorny debate?


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