Smart homes have gone from being a home show spectacle to an attainable reality for today’s homeowners. Newer technology has become more affordable, thanks in part to energy efficiency standards and customer demand. But an efficient smart home is made a reality by more than just one Energy Star appliance.
Energy-conscious homeowners take a deliberate approach toward efficiency, ensuring that each installation or behaviour adjustment makes improvements. Do the same in your home by reviewing your current infrastructure and mapping out a plan to make upgrades. Balance the desire for efficiency alongside affordability, as new technology often presents an overwhelming amount of choices. Prioritize upgrades that offer the greatest cost savings and efficiency improvement for the required investment.
Let’s Make Your Smart Home More Efficient
Most smart homes rely on Wi-Fi connectivity to power critical devices, providing a means to control them from anywhere. These devices belong to the Internet of things, the seemingly magical phenomenon behind the majority of smart homes. As you add devices to your home, the increased demand for bandwidth can quickly render them useless.
A smart home’s interconnected devices communicate with others around them to inform their next move, using embedded technology to make life easier. This dynamic ecosystem is made possible by a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout the home. If you’re using an antiquated system, it’s time for an upgrade that works with, not against, your smart home ambitions.
Using a programmable thermostat to adjust temperature settings can be one of the easiest ways to improve your smart home’s efficiency. Set your preferred temperature for times you’re at home and allow them to increase or decrease while you’re away. Maintaining a constant temperature requires more energy than recovering from higher or lower ones, so shift your practice to improve efficiency.
Smart thermostats offer handy features, including the ability to set target temperatures for your return home through remote access. Programmable fans respond to temperature shifts, redirecting heat up and out or into a room, depending on the season. Build out your home’s programmable devices to suit your needs and preferences. Doing so can help make your home feel like it’s working on your behalf, anticipating your needs at every turn.
3. Plug-In Smart Power Strips to Put a Stake Through Vampire Loads
Plugged-in devices may be turned off, but energy still pulls from the outlet to the power mechanism inside. This draw is called “vampire load” and can result in lost kilowatt-hours and may put your devices at risk.
Connect your devices to a smart power strip to stop the drain and provide a layer of protection. Power surges can quickly kill expensive appliances and tech devices, so adding a smart power strip is a wise move.
Be sure to purchase a smart power strip in lieu of a traditional one to fully protect your home. Smart power strips can cut off power by detecting a device in standby mode. When it recognizes a device, not in use, it signals for power to be blocked, stopping phantom power loss.
Smart appliances can help you do the basics in life with ease. Program your oven to preheat on your commute home. Set your coffee maker to percolate so you greet the morning with the aroma of a fresh pot. Adding these pieces of technology can help you automate your life, removing decision-making and to-do list items.
Balance the desire for sleek new appliances alongside the upfront cost and potential energy- and time-saving advantages. Consider the upgrades that can lead to the biggest impact as you review your options. Check current tax credit offers for energy-efficient improvements from your state department of revenue and the IRS. Leverage available discounts and credits to further improve your cost and energy savings.
Smart bulbs are one of the easiest upgrades to your home, installed the same way as traditional bulbs. Controlled by your home app, smart bulbs can be programmed to your tastes and respond to your needs. Use smart features like location service to turn off your lights while you’re away.
Combat bad habits among children and adults alike by turning off lights while a room is no longer occupied. Smart sensors detect human presence, which can keep rooms lit only when needed. Connected smart speakers allow you to control lighting and other settings, a saving grace when you’ve got your hands full. Plus, smart bulbs are relatively affordable and widely available, making them a great gateway into creating your smart home.
Efficiency Opportunities Are Just an Energy Audit Away
Most utility companies offer energy efficiency programs, often a requirement directed by regulatory bodies. Utility customers can get an in-home or virtual energy audit to determine how they can make their homes more energy-efficient. Some suggestions may be simple, like sealing gaps in windows and doors or adding insulation to water heaters. Others may involve installing energy-efficient devices or appliances to drive down kilowatt-hours.
Aside from providing helpful suggestions, these audits generally give homeowners several complimentary efficiency items to kickstart their efforts. LED bulbs, faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads, and power strips are common in these kits. Pair this professional assessment with your smart home technology efforts, and you’ll soon be experiencing a more comfortable and cost-effective home.
Photo by Ihor Saveliev