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Google has tips for making your smart home more eco-friendly

Just in time for Earth Day, Google has some new ways to save energy around your home and keep the Earth clean while you’re at it. The company is announcing new integrations for Google Assistant with energy and water-saving devices. The company is also offering tips on how to cut down on your energy bill.

Starting this week, Google Assistant will add support for the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler system so you can manage your sprinklers with voice controls to prevent unnecessary water from going to waste. Google Assistant is also adding support for Flo by Moen, a water monitoring and leak protection system. With the integration, you’ll be able to see your water usage and receive alerts when pipes start leaking.

As for the devices you already have in your home, Google has some ideas for how you can use them more efficiently to save on your energy bill while taking some strain off the Earth, as well. To start, one of the simplest changes you can make is switching your light bulbs out for LEDs. Ditching just five incandescent bulbs can save up to $75 per year, and LEDs last much longer so you’ll get that savings for years to come. You can even find Energy Star-certified LED bulbs like the Philips Hue that can be paired with Google Assistant. You can create routines and commands that make sure your lights are off and aren’t wasting electricity when you aren’t home.

Google also warns of “vampire voltage,” or the electricity that is drained from your appliances and devices even when they aren’t in use. Just having devices plugged in still uses energy — Google says home appliances consume up to 75 percent of their energy when not in use. To cut down, plug your appliances into power strips that can quickly be turned off when not in use. Smart outlets can also be set up with Google Assistant so you can turn them off remotely.

One of the best ways you can save money is by upgrading your thermostat. Smart thermostats can save people hundreds of dollars per year by intelligently monitoring and managing your home’s temperature. With a Nest Learning Thermostat, you can simply connect the device to Google Assistant and say, “Hey Google, set the thermostat to eco mode” to benefit from best practices and optimize your home’s energy efficiency. To help more people benefit from what Nest thermostats can provide, Google is pledging to bring the device to one million low-income families by 2023 as part of the Nest Power Project.