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Frugality and Going Green: Home Automation

Updated on August 26, 2016

According to Energy Star, the total amount of energy used in the United States each year is 95 quadrillion Btu, and 82 percent of this energy usage is created by the combustion of fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, few Americans fully understand where electricity comes from, taking it for granted each time a light gets left on or when heating and cooling is unregulated in the home. The truth is that both the environment and your wallet are impacted by all types of energy produced.

In some way, many types of energy use fossil fuels, which are a non-renewable resource. So, not only is this source going to run out at some point in time but fossil fuels also pollute the air, threatening the health of vulnerable individuals.

Therefore, taking steps to go green not only saves energy but allows us to live in a healthier environment that can be sustained for the coming centuries.

Two facts: 1) Technology is a part of our everyday lives that we rely on.

2) Technology results in high energy usage which has a negative effect on the environment.

The Solution: Home Automation – Using these smart alternatives helps to decrease energy usage so you can still enjoy all of the technological advances the world has to offer:

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats have added benefits other than energy savings when compared to traditional thermostats as they allow you to change the temperature in your home using a dial or control panel. Some smart thermostats are programmed to know when you are on your way home from work, saving energy by waiting to either heat up or cool down until just before your arrival home.

Similar to a traditional thermostat, you still have control over your smart thermostat – going above and beyond that of a traditional thermostat – as you can control the temperatures in your home remotely using a desktop, smartphone or tablet, resulting in greater energy efficiency.

Smart Lighting

Smart lighting is a technology designed for energy efficiency, including high-efficiency fixtures and controls that are automated to make adjustments to your lighting based on your homes occupancy or the availability of daylight.

Second to heating and cooling, home lighting is responsible for high consumptions of energy – 19% of worldwide energy usage. Lighting is also linked to 6 percent of harmful greenhouse emissions in the world.

Home automation using smart lighting can incorporate various technologies so both indoor and outdoor lights will automatically power on or off under various conditions including:

  • Instantly turning on when you enter a room
  • Instantly turning off after a period of inactivity in a room
  • Changing colors when a certain event occurs

Smart Power Strips

Did you know that your favorite home electronics, such as your entertainment system and coffee pot have vampireism qualities – even when turned off they suck large amounts of energy from your home. These devices go into standby mode when turned off. However, experts say that 5 to 10 percent of a household’s energy consumption and one percent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide are a result of standby power usage.

Traditional power strips are an excellent way to expand the number of electrical outlets throughout your home. The problem is they are so convenient that we often leave our electronic devices plugged in continuously, which means they are continuously drawing power from your home.

Smart power strips are an excellent solution to this problem as they work to reduce your energy usage by shutting down power to all of your devices that go into standby mode.

Bottom line – Smart power strips help prevent electrical devices from wasting power.

Smart Plugs

Even if you’re not currently following the trend of home automation, you should still check out smart plugs. They can save you a lot on your electricity bill and are one of the easiest smart home products to use.

These smart devices plug right into your ordinary outlets. In a sense, they act like an outlet extension as it has its own outlet. When using them, you would just plug your lamp or another device directly into the smart plug.

Smart plugs have many benefits, such as:

  • They can be controlled remotely using a home automation smart hub or a mobile app
  • Many smart plugs are programmable, automatically turning on or off based on events or certain timers
  • Some smart plugs can be purchased with a built-in energy monitor
  • Depending on the brand, certain smart plugs can send you an alert if it detects that your electronics or lights were left on by accident

Door and Window Sensors

It’s probably safe to say that when you think of home security, energy savings isn’t the first benefit that comes to mind. Most of us associate this technology as a way to safeguard our home from intruders. But actually, when you have a smart thermostat integrated into your security system, you can expect the added benefit of energy savings.

Despite alerting you to an open window or door that is allowing your cool air to escape, these sensors can alert your thermostat to set back when a door is opened and restart upon closing of the door. With this communication between your systems, your activity patterns are learned. This allows for updates to offer schedules for savings that are truly built around your lifestyle. The end result is long-term energy savings.

So, to sum up, the benefits of home automation, take a look at these additional statistics by Energy Star:

In 2014, American businesses and families have saved an enormous

$34 billion on utility bills, preventing greenhouse gas emissions that

are equivalent to the annual energy usage of more than 63 million

vehicles.

This is overwhelming evidence that shows how home automation can allow for both energy savings and usage that still allows you to enjoy all of the comforts your home has to offer.

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