You think you do so much to save every bit of electricity. You’re switching off lights when they aren’t needed, or looking for an energy-star certification when buying an appliance. So it must certainly come as a surprise when I tell you that the average American family spends $2200 annually on utilities!  More than half of this is spent on heating and another 10% or so on lighting, in spite of all the turning off of switches and buying energy-star appliances. Why? Because we are still using outdated technology, (where we have to manually control everything), and paying dearly for it!

Luckily for us, we live in an era where technology has entered our daily lives. It is making our homes smarter, where appliances anticipate our needs and adjust themselves accordingly. Our lives are being made simpler, and in the process, it is now possible to make real-time adjustments accordingly in a way that saves on our utility bills.

energy consumption chart USA residential

energy consumption chart USA residential

Source: needtoknow.nas.edu

The Future of Appliances

The future of appliances is smart. They understand your needs and adjust themselves in real time to save you time, effort, money and electricity. Smart Thermostats like Nest target that huge energy-hog in our homes – the heating, ventilation and cooling system! These bad boys, connected to your handheld devices via WiFi, save you an average of $300-$400 a year. Not so shabby, eh?

So how does it do that? You can bump down the heat when you’re away, and crank it up before you return. You can set a different temperature for different rooms around the house for different times of the day.  It may not sound like a lot, but these tiny savings really add up. To make all these adjustments manually would be impractical, but that’s where smart technology is really working for you.

 


Setting up a Smart Thermostat is really pretty easy. Here’s how.

So what else can make your home’s heating or cooling system more energy efficient?

A Smart Thermostat is naturally a great place to start. But there’s more! Water based heating and cooling systems can be connected to smart systems and these would not only save fuel costs, but also have zero carbon footprint. Water-cooled condensers typically operate at a much lower head pressure and use much less energy.

In addition they can be connected to Building Management Systems (BMS) to monitor heat levels and auto adjust accordingly. A BMS controls and monitors the building’s ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems via a computer. If you want to go that extra mile in making your home energy efficient, a BMS in your home will enhance smart system monitoring.

Yes, this is fairly advanced stuff, and it takes a fair amount of time, money and motivation to set up, but the rewards are worth it when it’s done right.


Here’s a BMS managing the geothermal energy-based heating and cooling system, which is another environmentally friendly way of making your home comfortable, without impacting your carbon footprint.

Smart lighting

And how about the second biggest energy consumer, lighting? You may have replaced all your fittings with energy efficient CFLs and LEDs. You probably make sure you switch off the lights when the room is bright enough, or when you’re leaving a room. But there’s so more that can be done. Dimming, for instance, but it would be impractical to implement manually each time, every time. You’d spend half your time manning a light switch! But what if that were possible in a way that saves you time and effort?

That’s another area where smart technology helps. You will no longer need to switch off the lights when leaving a room; occupancy sensors will do that for you. You already know that dimming a light saves electricity and prolongs the life of your bulb. How about a home where the light sensors can tell when there is enough daylight, and either switch off or dim the lights so that you have an even amount of light everywhere and no electricity is wasted in the process?

Smart lighting systems like the Philips Hue are a great way to go. All the lights can be controlled remotely via an app, are dimmable and can be set up to follow a schedule. Some can even change colours, to create the ambience you want, or keep time to music and a host of fun features.


Watch how a home gets a smart lighting re-mod.

Smart technology makes all this a reality and it’s here to stay.

Smart technology makes it a very real possibility to save money on your utility bills, without investing much time, effort and money, all while saving the planet. It makes these little changes intuitively that make life easier, and once you’ve known how much simpler it can make your life, there’s no going back.


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