Smart Lifestyle, curated for you by BGE and Empower Maryland

Issue 2: 2023

The Toy Box


What’s better than a new gadget that makes your home life better?

How about a new gadget that brings you a bit of comfort? Read on for five unexpectedly awesome gadgets that give you greater control of your domain, from how you kick back to how you tidy up.

If you use your

voice-activated assistant

20 to 30 times a day.

If the phrase “Tech Head” has been used to describe you, these smart, voice-activated lights will warm up your home—emotionally speaking. A doorway to a world of ultimate lighting control, these gadgets transform your home into a sanctuary of light that will adjust to your every whim. And all you’ll need is your voice to light the way.

Smart Light Bulb, $69.99

If you enjoy a

spontaneous dance party.

Are you an audiophile? A multitasker? A trivia hound? A smart speaker will be perfect, no matter your preferred title. This new generation of wireless models offers a long-lasting battery that sips energy, drastically reducing charging time. So you save energy while you work up a sweat rehearsing for your next viral dance video.

If you want to

reduce waste

one banana peel at a time.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that food waste is the single largest contributor to everyday trash. Your family member with the green thumb reports that they need fertilizer. Fortunately, there’s a solution for both—the home compost bin. Whether you go with a sleek countertop model for the kitchen or 36-gallon behemoth in the backyard, the right compost bin will help you reduce waste while creating some nutrient-rich homemade fertilizer. That’s a move that’s good for your pocketbook and the planet.

If you have

tons of electronics

that spend most of their time in standby mode.

You have electronics. You have a lot of electronics. And like it or not, many of them are energy vampires. Now, imagine possessing the power to control all of these standby-energy-devouring devices via your smart hub. An advanced smart power strip gives you everything you need to slay these phantom power suckers, without having to emerge from the comfort of your blanket cocoon on the couch.

Smart Power Strip, $16–$70

If you see a

hot bath

as an inalienable right and want to make the tub your new home office.

You go through bath bombs like potato chips. You have considered installing a TV in the bathroom and think pruney is the natural state for your fingertips. Consider a heat pump water heater as your perfect upgrade. It can help a typical family of four save up to $550 a year in energy costs compared to your traditional water heater. Just don’t try to write off the upgrade on your taxes as a “business expense.” We checked. It doesn’t work.

Heat pump water heater, up to a $1,600 rebate + federal tax credit*

We hope these suggestions add a dash more joy (and perhaps some savings) to your hang time at home. You can brag about your energy-saving prowess or keep it to yourself. Your secret’s safe with us.

*See website for more information.