Bob PofahlOK, I’ll admit it … I’m an iPhone convert.

Until about six months ago, the only thing smart about my phone was the guy using it.

Now that I have converted to an iPhone, I’m not sure how I ever survived without it.

I’ve slowly adapted to using my iPhone for more than just phone calls. I can now send emails, surf the web, take photos and video and download applications.

The evolution of mobile device applications (more commonly known as apps) has revolutionized the way we do many things in life. You can check in for a flight, pay for a cup of coffee, manage your tasks, check facebook, read books and magazines, pay your bills and so much more through apps on your iPhone, iPad or other mobile device.

Apple’s App Store currently features more than 350,000 apps. With so many apps and functions available through smart phones, I decided to look into a few ways a smart phone could help conserve energy and promote green building in Las Cruces homes.

Here are the top four ways I have found that you can integrate your smart phone into your quest for a greener home:

Improve your energy efficiency

iphone ipad light bulb finder app
Light Bulb Finder is an app for your smart phone that helps you select the right bulb for the job.

The easiest way your mobile device can help you save energy in your home is by se lecting products and optimizing the products you currently have.

There are quite a few apps available to help you select the right light bulb depending on how and where you plan to use it. Light Bulb Finder is a free app that takes you through a short questionnaire to determine the type of bulb you are currently using and then recommends the most energy-efficient bulb that you can select for that usage.

Cybermill’s WattStopper calculates the potential energy savings realized by controlling plug-in appliances and electronics. According to the EPA, this is one of the fastest growing areas of energy consumption in the United States.

Graham Haley Meter Readings helps you closely monitor the water and energy use of your home. Monitoring your usage can help you conserve.

Apps like these help you to calculate your potential savings in energy and money. Once you see how much you can save, you’ll realize why going green is such a popular movement.

Stay informed

The Internet is overflowing with advice and tips on green building and green living, and the information overload can get down right overwhelming. Sometimes it’s better to get green information in small doses.

Apps such as One Stop Green delivers daily tips on green living right to your phone.

One Stop Green offers practical tips such as, “Switch to cold water! Almost 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes is used to heat the water, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Save money and energy, wash your clothes in warm or cold water, instead of hot, using a detergent formulated for cold water use.”

These are everyday tips you can easily put into practice in your home right away.

If you’re looking to go more in-depth or want to learn to build green like the pros, download the Green Builder Magazine app for free. This app gives you free access to a wealth of great green building information that used to only be available to builders and developers.

Control your smart home with a smart phone

VantageMost homeowners still control their lights with traditional switches. The home of the future is just around the corner where all of your lights, appliances and home electronics will be controlled by your smart phone.

This might sound far-fetched, but the technology is available today. Systems such as Vantage automate your home through preset programming and remote control of lighting, heating and cooling, entertainment and security systems. This can all be done from your smart phone anywhere you have a signal.

There are so many green applications for automated control systems like Vantage.

Did you forget to turn off your heater when you left for work this morning? With Vantage, that’s no problem. Just pull out your phone and open the Vantage app to turn your heater off.

Smart bar codes

scanlifeOne of the latest mobile app technologies that’s beginning to take off is called bar code scanning technology.

Apps such as ScanLife can be loaded onto your iPhone, Android, Blackberry or other smart phone. Use the camera on your phone to scan a product barcode or other printed smart code and you will instantly receive information about the product and where to purchase it.

ScanLife can also be used by companies to allow readers to instantly download information and more. The most recent issue of Green Builder Magazine allows readers to enter a contest just by scanning a smart code printed in the magazine.

My hope is that, in the future, even more companies will use this bar code to help consumers find the greenest products on the market.

These are just four areas I’ve found to use my new iPhone for a greener home. I’d love to hear how you are using your smart phone as a tool for green living.

Contact Picacho Mountain today at 575-523-2500 for more information on building your energy-efficient, green home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Custom Estate Homes, Patio Homes, Town Homes, and Neighborhood Retail.

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Custom home designer and builder Karen Pofahl, of West Mesa Builders, walks us through one or her new home during its final stages of construction. This 3600 square foot home is located in Picacho Mountain Master Planned Community and sits on a 2 acre lot that has breathtaking views of the Organ Mountains and Mesilla Valley. The home has a contemporary feel to it, yet seamlessly blends into the beautiful desert surroundings.

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