Hunter Douglas Silhouette® window shadings
With all of the focus that’s being put on energy efficiency and sustainability, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that home automation is also on the rise. More than simply being convenient, installing automated window treatments and other smart home technology can go a long way towards reducing your energy bills. Better still, much of this new technology is actually quite affordable, and considering the huge savings it can bring, is definitely something we all should consider.
We may not all have a full “smart home” in the near future, here are 8 home automation ideas that can make your home more efficient.
Automate your heating and cooling
By far the most common form of home automation is a programmable thermostat to control your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. By monitoring the temperature in your home and automatically making adjustments to the heating or A/C when needed, these modern thermostats have been shown to be able to reduce energy costs by as much as 20%, while also taking the responsibility for remembering to turn the units on/off away from the consumer. Not only this, but many of the newer units can connect to your home’s WiFi network to enable you to remotely control your HVAC system using your computer or smart phone, ensuring your house is the perfect temperature when you come back home—without having to leave the units running all day long.
Only use energy where you need it
In addition to standard programmable thermostats, many people are now moving towards a concept known as zone control HVAC. This technique uses multiple programmable thermostats spread throughout the home, each of which monitors the temperature only in its own zone. This allows you to choose which rooms you want to heat/cool and reduce the wasted energy associated with sending the hot/cold air to rooms where it’s not needed.
Source: Clean Energy
Make your windows work for you
By using automated lift systems such as PowerView® Motorization, you can raise and lower your blinds using either a remote control, or better yet, an app on your smartphone. This allows you to create custom settings on your phone that will automatically raise/lower your window treatments at certain times of the day. While this is definitely more convenient, the real benefit lies in the fact that you can set your shades to automatically lower during the hottest part of the day; thus enabling your home to stay cooler and cutting back on how much you’re air conditioning needs to run.
Remember the lights!
By installing automated lighting controls, you can remotely control the brightness of your lighting—dimming them to reduce energy usage whenever you don’t need as much light. Better yet, many modern automated lighting systems also come with occupancy sensors that will automatically turn the lights off whenever you leave the room so you’ll never again waste electricity by forgetting to turn them off. Moreover, many newer systems also allow you to again control your lighting via your smartphone, meaning you’ll no longer have to worry about whether you turned the lights off before leaving the house.
Source: Island Construction Company
Use less energy in the kitchen
Many new energy-efficient appliances are now coming with automated controls as well, which can again enable you to turn them on and off remotely. Better still, some of them even have built-in sensors which will automatically turn the appliance off when it’s not being used, so again you’ll never have to worry about whether you remembered to turn the stove or oven off.
Power up with smart strips
One thing most people are unaware of is the fact that computers, TVs, cell phone chargers and basically all other electronic devices and appliances continue to use electricity even when they’re turned off or not in use. The reason for this is that even when not in use, the device goes into standby mode and continues to draw a small amount of power. Although you wouldn’t think so, these small amounts of electricity being used in standby mode can actually add up to as much as 5-10% of your total electricity bill. While you could always just unplug these devices when you’re not using them, there are now smart power strips that detect when a device is not in use and will then completely kill all electricity to it, allowing you to cut back even further on your energy usage.
Source: Green and Save
Be smarter about water use
Conserving water is just as important as reducing energy usage, which is why smart faucets and automated sprinkler systems are becoming so popular. Smart faucets will turn on and off automatically, while also controlling the amount of water that comes out of the tap. In addition, automated sprinkler and irrigation systems can further reduce your water usage by turning on and off automatically, so you’ll never waste water by forgetting to turn them off.
Know how much energy you’re using
One of the best ways to cut down on your electricity usage is to actually see exactly how much you’re using at any given time with an energy monitor. Considering that many utility companies are now offering lower rates for off-peak electricity consumption, these simple devices can help you save a ton of money by telling you exactly how much money your electricity usage is costing you at any given time. They can also tell you how much energy a specific appliance or device is using, enabling you to find out which units are using too much so that you can replace them with newer, more energy efficient models.
As you can see, automating your home can add up to significant energy savings by making your home more efficient. Best of all, this will not only save you money, but also enable you to start doing your part to protect the environment!