This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.
I’m sure many of you have seen adverts or promotions for some form of “smart home” technology. They are becoming increasingly popular and in-demand, but is this just because they seem like a cool idea? Or do they actually save energy? We’ve done the research for you, so read on and find out!
What are smart homes?
Simply put, smart homes are residences that use internet-connected devices to enable the remote monitoring and management of appliances and systems, such as lighting and heating. Many new homes are being built with the capacity for them to become smart homes, while older homes can be retrospectively fitted with the right technology.
What makes them “smart”?
Smart homes allow you to monitor and control anything in your home which is linked to your WiFi. That may sound like you’re the smart one there, but smart homes do have some features which make them truly intelligent. For example, using sensors, they can tell when somebody is in a home or a room and control the lights or heating accordingly. They can also track your behavioural patterns to identify the perfect amounts of water or energy for certain activities. Based on these patterns, many smart homes will also offer you recommendations on saving energy every day. That’s truly smart.
Can they help save energy?
The simple answer is yes, but it depends on the individual. A smart home can only provide information and optimise with the tools at its disposal. It is up to the homeowner to give it more tools to use and a better environment to use them in. Put simply, if your water meter is not linked to your smart home, then it will have no impact on your water usage. It can take time to get everything hooked up and become comfortable with all the features.
What can be done to help my smart home?
Several things can be done to make homes more suitable for smart home technology, so these may well be worth looking out for when it comes to investing in your first home:
- Insulation – A properly insulated home will make heating and cooling much easier and more energy-efficient, thereby making life much easier for a smart home.
- LED bulbs – As we mention most weeks on this blog, LEDs use much less energy than most other types of lightbulbs. They are also extremely durable and can be easily connected to smart homes.
- Solar panels – An expensive investment, we know. However, this one shows that while you can save energy, if your energy is still sourced from fossil fuels, for example, then the environmental benefits are minimal. Solar panels will also reduce reliance on grid electricity, and even more so if you also invest in a home battery which will retain and store any excess energy. So, if you are thinking of purchasing a smart home, think long-term and make sure your home is ready before making that investment.
So, there you have it, smart homes have the potential to be extremely effective in terms of saving energy, but much of that depends on how you use and complement it. If you have seen them advertised and dream of having one in your future home, then don’t worry; they can be really great for the planet, but you should ensure the correct infrastructure is in place before taking the plunge.
As always, if you have any further questions or want to get involved with King’s Energy, get in touch!