Can your smart home technology save you money?
Home automation tools that let you control lighting and heating are scratching the surface of using smart home tools to save on your utility bills. Ralph Simpson of Pure Home Technology explains how to turn your house into a model of energy efficiency.
You’re probably familiar with technologies such as Nest and Hue that let you control heating and lighting through mobile apps. I suspect that you’re also aware that LED lighting is more cost effective than older-style bulbs. However, this kind of technology is just the beginning of a revolution that is transforming the way we heat and light our homes - and ushering in new ways that home owners can save money.
These smart home tools rely on the input of the home owner to work effectively. However, the latest tools mean your home can learn how you like your rooms heated, adjust for fluctuations of outside temperatures and automatically lower the set point temperature if the room isn't occupied.
This is the difference between home automation, which requires human intervention through a control panel or mobile device, and smart home automation, which is self-learning and managing. Smart home technologies give home owners the option to edit their lighting and heating preferences, but will happily run without any manual input. And as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to develop, smart devices will increasingly talk to each other, making subtle adjustments to lighting and heating in the background without any input from the home owner.
The energy efficient smart home
Lights and heating can be set to come on at specific times of the day, but also change if the home owner’s patterns or behaviour alters. We’ve seen this before, thanks to motion sensors which automatically turn off lights as rooms become unoccupied. But the same is now true of heating, with the latest technologies allowing heat to be managed by ‘zone’ so that certain areas of the house are only heated while in use.
Smart blinds are increasingly being used to maintain the temperature by ‘thermal harvesting’. They can be controlled to automatically open or partially open if the sun is out and depending on the direction of the windows and the strength of the sun, can use this heat energy to reduce reliance on home heating, again creating cost savings.
The end result is a more comfortable, inviting home that works around the lifestyle of the owner. But the beauty of investing in smart home automation of this type is that it will save home owners on their energy bills from the day it is installed.
How much money will you save?
How much can you save using smart home automation? The answer to this question is clearly subjective. Will smart home lighting and heating save money on energy bills? The answer is an unqualified ‘yes’. How much will it save? Well, that depends on a number of variables, such as size of the home, quality of home insulation and double glazing, the number of people in the household, the percentage of time the home is occupied etc. The saving will also depend on how the user/installer sets the parameters, so the energy savings realised in a smart home set to maximum efficiency vs one that goes for comfort-over-savings will vary massively.
But it is undeniable that smart home lighting and heating will make savings because any system that regulates when energy is used and minimises waste will offer value. Establishing the time it will take to see a return on investment will obviously vary, but it would be simple to create a spreadsheet to input savings then plot to the month when the cost of the equipment is paid for.
Clearly, to maximise savings, you need to correctly configure smart home automation. Technology integrators such as Pure Home can visit your home, install the most suitable heating and lighting controls and link them into a signal app platform which could also include home entertainment and security. This short term investment will not only make the home a more pleasant place to be, it will also pay long-term dividends in terms of lower energy bills, for many years to come.
Pure Home Technology is a specialist installer of home cinema and smart home automation, working with homes and workspaces in and around Winchester. Learn more at purehometechnology.co.uk