Do Smart Homes Affect the Environment?
Smart Homes are becoming more and more popular in the UK and the world. The reasons are obvious – you can achieve various tasks much easier, such as turning on the heating or cooling before you arrive home, fill in your bath without going to the bathroom yourself and many other tasks. Also, home automation companies are becoming very aware of security issues that might arise and are tackling them very well, including KNX, which even has a site dedicated entirely for security – KNX Secure.
However, one of the largest selling points is how energy efficient a property can be by using automation. If your property’s automation is set up well, in the long term you can actually save more money by having a well built automated home, rather than do everything manually.
Let’s take, for example, Smart Power Strips. Not all electronics were created equal. TV boxes, DVD players, video game consoles and automatic coffee makers are what’s known as “energy vampires” – hungry electronics that secretly suck down energy, in some cases, even when switched off. But energy monsters can be stopped with the help of smart power strips. They come complete with motion detection systems that shut electronics off when they sense that you’ve left the property, and reduce the overall amount of energy they consume. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the United States estimates that installing smart strips could result in a net savings of around £140 ($200) a year, not bad for a £20 investment.
Heating and Cooling
Everyone loves to return to a warm cosy home during the winter or cool and fresh property during the hot summer days. With today’s advances in technology you can even set up your home to follow the live forecast and control the climate in your house automatically. And, when you leave the vicinity of your house the climate control will switch off and save energy until you return. You don’t even need to set any timers or do anything yourself if you don’t want to.
There are, of course, systems available where you can easily control your heating with an app on your phone if you find that you want a different climate than the automation has chosen for you. Heating and cooling requires the most energy in a home, accounting to about 54 percent of a household’s utility bill and reducing it even by a few percent can save energy and, therefore, be less harmful to the environment in whole. Which leads us to…
In a research paper from Jean-Nicolas Louis he proposes that home automation can reduce the CO2 emissions by 13% a year. That is a huge number if you multiply that number by existing homes in UK or in the world. According to the paper, one of the ways to reduce the electricity consumption is through peak shifting – moving energy consumption load from daytime to night time.
So there we have it, if we choose to automate our home or business property, not only we can save energy and avoid receiving nasty bill shock at the end of the month (unless your energy provider decided they want more money) because we forgot to turn off an unused appliance, but also we are helping the environment. As a bonus, by living in a smart home or working in an automated property, we also get all the perks and comfort that comes with automation.