Did you know our homes use 37% more energy today than they did in 1980? Those numbers come directly from the U.S. Dept. of Energy. The solution to bring the rapid surge in energy down just might come in the form of technology. By incorporating technologies that help make homes more efficient, ENERGY STAR estimates homeowners can save between $200 and $400 annually on their energy bills—something many homeowners need today as energy costs continue to skyrocket upwards.
Today, let’s look at three tech tips to consume less energy in our homes—some of these you might know about and some of these you might not—but all will have a lasting impact on your energy consumption in the years ahead.
Heating and cooling costs account for the majority of a home’s energy consumption. To help, automated HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems can maintain an energy-efficient temperature when homeowners are not in the house. Perhaps the first and most obvious place to start is with the thermostat itself—the brains behind the whole operation.
Google Nest, Honeywell Home Smart Thermostat, Ecobee’s Smart Thermostat, and similar thermostats can help homeowners save energy by offering the ability to monitor and adjust to save energy—providing the controls needed to monitor the home even when a homeowner is away. These smart products can be programmed based on your schedule, send alerts about performance, and even adjust usage based on occupancy. The smart thermostat is perhaps one of the first places to start when looking to save energy in the home.
According to ENERGY STAR, programmable thermostats can save consumers about $180 per year in energy costs.
While smart thermostats are often the “brains” behind an HVAC system, giving the information needed to make decisions, smart vents, humidifiers, and air purifiers can also help power a connected and more energy-efficient home.
Lighting can make up 10-20% of the home’s total electrical use, according to NAHB (National Assn. of Home Builders). LEDs (light emitting diodes) have come a long way and consume less money than incandescent bulbs. Also, automated dimmers, timers, and smart light bulbs can help lower electricity bills while also increasing the life expectancy of the bulbs.
Homeowners can also consider ENERGY STAR certified smart light fixtures and light bulbs—which use 90% less energy than traditional lightbulbs. With these products, homeowners can leverage geofencing—location-based controls—to automatically turn off your lights based on the location of your smartphone.
Smart lights with built-in sensors can also turn lights on only when someone is present in a room. Or if you forget to turn off the lights, your mobile device can turn off any that may have been left on. These devices can also be paired with others like smart thermostats and security systems for greater energy savings.
Appliances are getting smarter and more energy efficient—which is a trend we covered in depth following the IBS (Intl. Builders Show) earlier this year. Smart, connected refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers, and more all use less energy, while providing more convenience to homeowners.
These machines can be used remotely. Consider a washer or dryer, which can be scheduled to operate when electricity rates are at the lowest. Or an app that allows you to look inside your refrigerator without opening the door and wasting energy. And these are just a few examples.
All in all, many of the new, smart, connected appliances are better for the world and help save energy, while providing a better way to interact with our homes. In time we will even see more insurance companies leveraging these tools for appliance leaks or, more importantly, preventative and predictive maintenance, just like our cars reducing overall insurance premiums and home warranties.
While these are just three ideas, there are many ways to make a home more energy efficient and safe in today’s era of connectivity. What are you doing to save energy in your home?
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