Do Smart Homes really save you money?
This is a question frequently asked and a worthy one when considering what smart technology to opt for in your home. In this blog we cover some popular areas where the use of smart technology is increasing.
Using smart thermostats is likely to be the one area of using smart technology that will be the best at saving you money. One of their main aims is to adapt to your lifestyle, learning when you are in the home and away, so your heating is only on when you are at home. This is never a guarantee in saving you money, but it is about using the technology to the greatest benefit. Placing the thermostat in the best place is key, for example placing it by your front door means it gets cold every time your front door is opened whilst the rest of the house will be warm. This would then trigger your heating to go on when it is likely not to be needed. When installing your smart thermostat, make sure it is going in a location in the home where you are frequently and most used to gain a consistent temperature.
Smart valves for your radiators are usually a less popular choice as they are typically more expensive, but they can provide ultimate control over your heating. By having the valves installed you can control each heater individually or even zone by zone. This means you might have the heating off everywhere apart from the living room and your bedroom, for example. Typically saving you a considerable amount of money on heating but with a high up-front cost.
Smart lights have grown in popularity rapidly, we are referring to a smart light for the purposes of this blog, one that can be controlled by your smart phone, voice of computer. The use of smart lighting means that when used they can be adapted to different scenarios. There are a lot of variations with some complex systems available but for example a simple set up could in the morning gradually turn on your bedroom light to wake you up, turn off when you leave the room and gradually turn back on as the sun sets. Other systems could be more complex and controlled by voice command, like ‘turn off all downstairs lights’ on your way up to bed or just a simple instruction to turn a light on in the room where you need at the time. Others will also provide the ability to change the brightness of the light saving energy if you do not need a bright light.
The idea of smart lighting is to as much as possible to remove the human element of forgetting to turn off lights or leave them on longer than we need to – set up right you should see some reduction in energy usage – as with any smart technology it is all about using it correctly.
One thing is to consider is LED lighting. All smart lights are LED so if you are switching from an old-style bulb you are likely to make significant savings.
Over the recent years, these have been a hot topic as many more of us are seeing our old meters upgraded against the Govt rollout programme. Will they simply change how much energy we use, the simple answer is ‘no’. The smart meter is more about encouraging behavioural changes. The aim is that you see how much energy you are using and how much it costs you, having this information and knowledge to hand should then influence you to switch off the lights in the rooms you are not using, boil the kettle less or opt for more energy efficient appliances. Simply having a smart meter will not reduce your energy usage.
What is important to the UK about the increase in smart meters is that they gather more data on a national scale. This helps with identifying how our energy demands peak and will help to improve our current energy systems and how intermittent renewable energy sources are utilised.
Who doesn’t love a smart plug? The are great at providing you the ability to turn off anything that it can be plugged into the mains where you can put a smart plug. Some areas you may find them useful and also should save you energy are listed below: –
- Timing for lamps to come on and off
- Turning on a heater just before you get home
- Turning off appliances when you are not at home and being used
- Turning off TV’s, games consoles, computers, lamps, etc before you go to bed
- Limiting time for your kids on their TV or gaming console
Security in our homes is a growing market and we wanted to include it as it can be linked to energy saving. Smart security covers: –
- Window and door automated locks
- Video cameras
- Video doorbells
- Full systems
Opting for one of the above will use more energy but none of the options uses a massive amount of energy. One option is choose cameras which have a motion detection function which means they only use energy when they have to.
Using automated locks is an option where you could save energy – they will obviously use energy when in use but if you have them linked to your wider smart home system, your lock can be used to trigger their functions. A good example is if you have your smart lock linked to the relevant device that will switch off your lights and smart plugs in your home when you leave, this can help to save you energy.
The key is to choose your smart options wisely and do not assume that they will automatically save you energy but used correctly they certainly can.