Our lifestyle habits don’t help: leaving lights on when we leave rooms, forgetting to turn off televisions or computers when not in use, and running appliances when it’s more expensive all result in wasted energy and higher costs.
Changing these habits can help save energy, but that’s easier said than done. Fortunately, many homeowners are turning to smart technology to save energy. Here’s how you can do the same.
Smart technology allows homeowners to take control of their energy usage through a variety of smart-home energy-saving strategies. Smart-home hubs can turn appliances off completely when not in use, eliminating the energy drain caused by “idling” appliances and improving energy conservation.
The DoE reports that, despite being 30 percent larger, homes built after 2000 only use 2 percent more energy than older homes. In large part, this is because newer homes are more likely to be built with smart-home energy efficiency in mind, including smart-home hubs and appliances.
For smart homes, new energy-saving technology is typically controlled via smartphone apps, so you can turn devices on and off even when you’re out of the house.
These technological advances allow homeowners to implement new strategies for lowering both their home’s energy use and their utility bills.
Home automation allows homeowners to control their appliances through smartphone apps, creating many new ways to save energy. Here are some of the best energy-saving strategies for smart homes that you can use today.
For instance, you could set smart kitchen appliances such as dishwashers to run while you’re out of the house, or you might schedule your coffee machine to turn on and off at the same time every morning.
Such routines mean you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn off appliances when they’re not in use, and improve smart-home energy-efficiency.
Dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers often run at the same time in multiple households across an electrical grid, creating peak demands for energy at certain times of day.
Homeowners can reduce energy use by creating smart routines for washers, dryers and other appliances, scheduling appliances to run at times of day when energy demand is low.
Many appliances consume energy even when not actively in use. Gaming consoles, standby coffee makers, cable or satellite boxes and any device that can be operated by remote control consume power when not in use.
Using automatic power-down modes prevents inactive appliances and devices from draining energy.
Pro tip: If you’re unsure of how much energy an appliance consumes, Energy.gov has a useful appliance energy calculator.
To take full advantage of smart-home energy-saving strategies, you need to know which appliances and devices consume the most energy and when they’re most often in use.
Home-connected apps (such as the DoE’s Home Energy Saver) monitor and analyze energy use to show homeowners which of their appliances are consuming the most power.
Smart lighting includes any lights that can be controlled by a home’s smart assistant or through the smart light’s phone app. Homeowners can set up energy-efficient timers, motion detectors and dimmers to change the lighting at set times throughout the day. Once linked to a smart assistant, such lighting can be turned on and off through voice commands.
Smart lights offer other benefits. Scheduling lights to come on and off when you’re not home can be part of an automated home security system, deterring burglars by suggesting the home is occupied.
Switching from traditional incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs also saves energy. While slightly more expensive than traditional bulbs, LED bulbs last much longer than incandescent lights, making them a wise investment.
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (or HVAC systems) account for 32 percent of the average home’s electricity consumption, according to this 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey, published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
HVAC systems waste considerable amounts of energy if left running when no one is home, so automated thermostats are important smart-home energy-efficiency tools. A smart thermometer tracks the home’s temperature and adjusts temperatures depending on whether the home is occupied.
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To truly take advantage of smart-home energy savings, it may be necessary to invest in new energy-saving technology for homes. Replace old, energy-guzzling appliances with newer, more efficient models such as these:
As homes trend towards interconnectivity and the Internet of Things continues, more devices and electrical products are becoming smart.
This trend is especially prevalent in the kitchen, where smart kitchen gadgets such as coffee makers, slow cookers, scales and more make life both more convenient and more energy efficient.
Few homeowners can upgrade all their gadgets, devices and appliances at once. Fortunately, with smart plugs, you can turn any electrical product into a smart device.
Smart plugs can be controlled from your smartphone or linked to your home assistant. Once installed, the best smart plugs can turn devices on and off while also monitoring each device’s energy use.
We hope these energy-saving strategies for homes help reduce your energy consumption and, by extension, your utility bill. Smart homes offer many ways to improve appliance efficiency and prevent energy waste, giving homeowners control over their appliances like never before.
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