The total cost of wasted energy for UK households and the government will amount to £13 billion between October 2022 and October 2024. Brits waste £4.4 billion annually by leaving unnecessary lights on at home. Unbeknownst to us, our homes and appliances are wasting energy, piling up the sums on our bills. There’s energy to save at every opportunity in our homes. However, we cannot maximise energy-saving without intelligent technology. Smart features in a home can regulate our energy use to ensure we are using what we need when we need it only.
How do smart home features save energy?
Automated regulation – smart home systems allow you to automate and optimise the control of various devices and appliances in your home. It includes adjusting thermostat settings, turning off lights and electronics when not in use, and managing energy-intensive devices like water heaters and air conditioning systems more efficiently. By automatically adjusting these settings based on factors like occupancy, time of day, or ambient conditions, smart homes can reduce energy wastage.
Energy monitoring – they often come with energy monitoring capabilities and provide real-time data on energy consumption, allowing you to track and analyse your energy usage patterns. With this information, you can identify energy-hungry devices or behaviours that contribute to high consumption. By understanding your energy usage, you can make informed decisions about reducing energy consumption and optimising efficiency.
Remote control and scheduling – these systems enable remote connection to your devices and appliances. It means you can turn off lights, adjust the thermostat, or switch off electronics from anywhere using your smartphone. If you forget to turn something off before leaving home, you can do so remotely, preventing unnecessary energy usage. Additionally, scheduling features allow you to automate routines and set specific times for devices to turn on or off.
Integration with renewable energy – smart home technology can integrate with renewable energy sources like solar panels. Connecting your solar panels to smart home systems, you can monitor energy production, optimise consumption patterns to align with peak production periods and ensure excess energy is stored or fed back into the grid. This integration maximises the utilisation of renewable energy and reduces dependence on traditional energy sources.
Energy-saving smart features every home needs
A smart thermostat can control your heating remotely with an app. You can turn down or turn off the heating or build a schedule based on your habits. It also allows multi-room control. These can seamlessly integrate with your existing heating system. There’s no worry if you forget to turn off the heating before leaving home or anticipate returning home later than usual you can do it all with your smartphone or tablet.
Smart thermostats can learn your preferences, adjust temperature settings based on occupancy patterns, and even consider external factors like weather conditions to dial back the heating on warm days or keep your home comfortable on cold mornings. They can adapt heating and cooling to ensure comfort while minimizing energy consumption. Some smart thermostats also use geofencing technology to detect when you leave or approach home, adjusting the temperature accordingly.
You can also control your heating while on the couch or in bed. You will thank yourself for this convenience when poorly in bed.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs)
Smart thermostatic radiator valves can also reduce your heating costs. They are an improved version of a manual radiator valve and allow you to control the temperature in each room individually. TRVs detect the warmth of a room to adjust the radiator to the temperature of your choice. Some smart TRVs work standalone, while others work with a smart thermostat. You can keep the empty spare room cool while the lounge is toasty.
If you already have a room thermostat, you don’t need TRVs. They both do the same job.
Solar panels generate smart home energy, reducing energy dependency on the grid. During daylight hours, the panels generate electricity and store it in batteries. This energy can power various devices and appliances, including lighting, heating, cooling, and electronics. Solar panels can significantly reduce energy bills.
When integrated with the overall energy management system, solar energy can optimise energy usage based on solar production levels. For example, smart home systems can automatically prioritise solar energy use for high-consumption devices when solar production is at its peak.
Around 21% of Brits admit leaving lights on when going to work, which produces carbon emissions equal to 45 flights around the world.
Smart lighting automates operations with the use of motion sensors. These ensure lights go off when there is no movement in a room. They turn themselves off if you leave a room or fall asleep without switching off the lights. Smart applications allow you to control your lights remotely via mobile devices too.
You can schedule them to turn on in the evening or turn off automatically when there’s daylight outside. Smart lighting systems also offer mood lighting capabilities (dimming and ambient features) and voice-control lighting using Google Assistant or Alexa.
And let’s not forget that all smart light bulbs are LEDs. Traditional light bulbs only 5% of the electricity they consume into visible light.
Smart water management systems
Smart leak sensors provide a simple means to monitor leak-prone areas, such as beneath sinks, behind toilets, and near the washing machine. Once the sensor detects a leak, it sends an alert to your smartphone, which helps you promptly fix the issue. Based on your choice of sensor, they may also have additional features to monitor water flow in pipes in real-time and shut off water to the home after detecting a leak. These help lower utility bills.
Smart sprinkler systems
Smart sprinkler controllers effectively reduce water waste outdoors by efficiently managing the amount of water used for irrigating your lawn or garden. These controllers can tailor irrigation-based factors like soil moisture levels and specific plant types.
Some advanced sprinkler systems can utilise hyper-local, web-based weather data to adjust watering schedules. It prevents your lawn from getting watered unnecessarily during or right before a rainstorm. If you don’t have an in-ground sprinkler system, a smart faucet controller alongside standard sprinklers or soaker hoses can achieve similar water-saving benefits.
Saving energy should be a primary motive when selecting home appliances. Smart appliances have better energy efficiency. Their energy label rates them on a scale of A to G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least efficient. Modern appliances with smart capabilities are compatible with smart home devices you can control remotely. When it comes to energy-intensive appliances like hobs, washing machines, refrigerators, or dishwashers, you should choose the highest energy efficiency-rated ones.
According to a study by British Gas, UK households could save an average of £147 per year by killing off vampire power. Appliances not in use but in standby mode continue to draw power, known as phantom or “vampire” energy. Smart plugs let you switch appliances off at the wall on an app. You can monitor, in real-time, the energy use of any device you plug in and switch off completely.
The future is brighter for smart homes with smart features. As energy becomes more and more integral to the world and households, AI and smart technology have become the only reliable methods to conserve it. Protecting ourselves against high energy bills ensures we can afford necessities like heating and lighting in the long run. GS Brown homes come with smart features and energy-efficient fittings because we believe in building homes for a secure future. What energy-saving features are you using at home?