A recent GfK survey reveals that the UK is now the second largest market in the world for smart home technology, with over 300 brands offering more than 3,000 smart home products — an impressive increase of 30% year-on-year.

The survey also reveals that 85% of the UK’s online population owns at least one smart product, which can range from smart routers and smart TVs to fitness trackers and smart set-up boxes.

Smart Tech Watch

Apart from making life much easier, smart home products are also an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and energy use.

These are particularly true for smart home environmental controls. The Central for Environmental Health details how environmental controls like automated heat regulation help save the planet by effectively reducing energy consumption when no one is at home.

On The Green Guy we made a list of how the latest technology can help you be more energy efficient at home, with smart solutions that will allow you to do everyday tasks much easier. If you want to make your home smarter and more energy efficient, here is some smart home tech you should consider investing in:

Smart plugs

Forbes lists smart plugs as one of the simplest ways to get started with home automation. Just plug one of these into any ordinary electrical outlet and you can control any appliance or device plugged into the smart plug from your smartphone.

One example is the Belkin Wemo, which lets you schedule your lights and appliance usage, monitor your energy consumption, and protect your home via an app-based remote control.

Smart speakers

Smart assistants in speakers, like the Google Home Mini, respond to commands to play music, and also allow you to control other devices connected to them. These serve as a hub to control other smart tech like thermostats and lighting.

Security CameraSmart refrigerators

One of the appliances that consumes the most electricity in a home is the refrigerator. With smart technology, you can connect your fridge to the internet to provide additional features like more flexible user-controlled cooling options and the ability to interact with your fridge even if you’re away from home. With a smart fridge, you can also look up recipes and have your fridge read them back to you while you cook, set expiration dates, and use interior cameras to double-check which items you’re low on while you’re at the supermarket.

Security cameras

Perhaps one of the best things about smart home tech is how it allows you to secure your home with just a touch of a button. Amazon’s Cloud Cam, for example, takes a crisp 1080p HD live feed video with prompt motion notifications, perfect for indoor home security. For maximum security, invest in one that has a continuous recording feature you can control remotely.

Solar-powered led lights

These nifty devices allow you to harness the power of the sun and use it to light your home, whether it’s your garden path, your porch, or your garage. It cuts a significant amount off your electricity bill and you don’t have to worry about coming home to a dark house.

Solar Powered LED Lights

Mobile phone-controlled smart lights are also available, so you can manually turn on your house lights if you’re coming home late from work. Motion detection and different colours of light are available, too, which would be great if you want to customise your home’s lighting per room.

Smart thermostats

You can connect smart thermostats like Nest to your home Wi-Fi and control it with a virtual assistant. Smart thermostats can detect when you aren’t home and determine when to shut off the heat or air conditioning. The smart central heating controls featured on Screwfix can automatically adjust a home’s heating and hot water settings depending on its owners’ daily routine. These smart gadgets can also be controlled anywhere through connected apps. Some even allow you to be able to set the temperature via a voice command.

The key to effectively creating a smart home lies not only in the smart tech you have at home, but the security tech you use with them. Recent data shows that only 15% of UK homes use software or applications that protect the technology they have at home, and 41% say they’re not concerned at all about the risk of cyber attacks.

But in light of the various data breaches recently, it’s wise to be aware of how to properly use smart home tech and how to protect your home from potential security breaches. The Next Web lists everything you need to know about your smart home devices, which include how to deal with compatibility issues, what to do when your systems go offline, and how to protect pertinent data—all of which you need for an effective smart home system.