We all know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You check the mail, and there sits a utility bill. Even though you have a general idea of how much it is, the exact cost remains an uneasy mystery.
You hold your breath and rip open the envelope. Ouch. (And yes, electricity bills are the worst of the lot.)
Thank goodness we have alternatives in today’s tech-rich world, such as a smart home energy management system. It takes a big bite out of your energy costs — in fact, your smart home and energy efficiency walk hand in hand.
And when you want to save energy, smart home devices and systems actually deliver, whether you start on a large or small scale. So, what smart systems meet your home’s energy needs and take the sting out of those utility bills?
Let’s check out some of the best available smart home energy solutions and explore how they help you save! Both your wallet and the planet will thank you.
[Related: A Guide to Room-by-Room Automation for Your Home]
Smart Home Energy Management Benefits
Like any other device, system or appliance that uses power, smart home tech uses energy. The key lies in how smart home tech regulates and reduces that energy use.
We could use a human metaphor. If you sprinted for an hour sporadically throughout the day, you’d get exhausted pretty quickly. But if you kept an ongoing, steady stroll, you wouldn’t become nearly as burned out.
You’d conserve your energy — you get the gist! Now, let’s look at practical ways smart home energy management systems save you money in your day-to-day life.
Pro tip: Before embracing smart home energy solutions, you need networking. After all, Internet of Things (IoT) tech is the foundation of smart home energy-saving devices. With networking, your smart systems and devices don’t simply connect and interact — you can also control them remotely.
Avoiding Temperature Spikes
This benefit is the best of the bunch, so let’s start here. That aforementioned electricity bill can be a whole lot lower with smart home climate control tech. A smart thermostat is a relatively simple device, but it carries a ton of perks!
Essentially, a smart thermostat delegates how often your heating and cooling systems run. Instead of sudden AC surges or abrupt heating blasts, you get gradual, ongoing temperature control throughout your home. It gets even better than that — you can change your home’s temperature from afar and pre-program heating and cooling patterns.
For example, you don’t have to worry about stepping into a sweltering home after your two-week summer beach vacation. But you don’t have to run your AC the entire time you’re gone, either! A few days before returning from the shore, you can set your smart thermostat to cool your home incrementally.
With climate control systems, you get sweeping access with features like wall switches, handheld remotes and expert app integration. Plus, smart home energy consumption begins dropping right after installation. It all adds up to far lighter utility bills and a consistently comfortable home.
Pro tip: Although you technically can install your own smart thermostat, it’s tricky. For quick, insured service, enlist an audiovisual (AV) installation company. Technicians take care of all that tedious wiring to guarantee your climate control system works as it should.
[Related: 8 Ways Climate Control Improves Your Home]
Regulating Indoor and Outdoor Light
Let’s chip away at the utility bills a bit more. Lighting trails only HVAC systems and major appliances (like hot water heaters) as your home’s main energy hogs.
For starters, LED light bulbs are six times more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. With smart LED light bulbs, you get greater energy efficiency alongside broad IoT control over brightness, cadence and even color.
Furthermore, smart lighting is incredibly flexible. Whether you go with a whole-home lighting control system or a couple of smart LED light bulbs, you’ll save energy.
It’s easy to forget about switching lights on or off until the need arises. With smart lighting as part of a smart home energy management system, you can receive reminders and set timers. Even always-on lights aren’t nearly as pricey because they’re more efficient by design.
And when you’d like to strike a beautiful balance between smart lighting and smart climate control, check out motorized shades. They don’t simply cover your windows — they reduce your need for artificial lighting while insulating against outdoor heat and cold. Plus, they make smart home energy solutions stylish (that’s always a win).
The best part? Smart lighting truly saves you money — just like smart climate control. While you’re on that summer vacay, you can preset your smart lighting to shut off at dawn and activate security lighting at night. If you didn’t close the motorized shades on your way out, lower them from the comfort of your seaside blanket.
Pro tip: Energy Star has some short-and-sweet tips for pairing smart lighting with other devices, like apps and voice assistants. For example, motion sensors and smart lighting work together to both reduce electricity use and boost personal security.
[Related: Why We Love Lutron Shading Systems]
Curbing Excess Electricity
Smart home energy management doesn’t get much simpler than using smart plugs and power strips. These little smart gadgets are so affordable and effective!
In short, you place a smart plug in a regular outlet, then plug a device into the smart plug. After downloading an app, you have remote control over that device’s power. Many models offer energy monitoring, so you can tell how much juice a device uses per a certain period.
To save energy, smart home staples like smart TVs and computers are ideal matches for these gadgets. But smart plugs are also perfect for reducing energy consumption in items you want to keep that don’t have IoT tech. Maybe your grandmother’s antique lamp is gorgeous but an energy-hungry beast.
You have practically countless possibilities. That said, we strongly suggest checking a smart plug’s amp capacity before using it for major appliances.
Additionally, smart plugs are a breeze for long-distance energy control. Imagine switching on your recessed-wall RGB LED lights before playing a movie in your home theater!
Pro tip: If you’re starting home automation on a budget, smart plugs and LED light bulbs are fantastic starting points. With these smart home energy solutions, you can enjoy energy efficiency while planning any smart home expansion.
[Related: Home Movie Theater Ideas: Your Ultimate Guide]
Detecting Water Leaks and Waste
We haven’t forgotten about your water bill, either. Water leaks and waste are also serious contributors to higher costs — and incredibly expensive home damage. Fortunately, you have dozens of options for a smart home energy system.
Smart leak detectors, monitors and valves step up and prevent headaches (or nightmares) before they happen:
- A smart leak detector sends you smartphone alerts if it detects water in any area that should be dry. Some models even note temperature changes (think frozen, cracked pipes). Then, you know to fix the problem.
- A smart water monitor (like this one from Flume) goes a step further. It sits on or in your water supply line and alerts you of any pressure changes and/or leaks. Again, you can nip the issue in the bud.
- Finally, a smart water shutoff valve does it all — monitoring, sending alerts and letting you remotely shut off water flow. Smart water shutoff valves are pricier, but they’re certainly invaluable if you live in an old home or freeze-prone area!
And if you’d like basic smart home energy solutions to curb water waste, opt for smart faucets and sprinkler controllers. Your nine-year-old no longer forgets to turn off the sink with a touchless smart faucet. With a smart sprinkler controller, you’re not that person who’s watering the lawn during a downpour (awkward).
Pro tip: In a perfect world, we’d all have smart water heaters with automatic water monitoring, shutoff and pattern tracking. The seemingly simple acts of heating and purifying water can eat up 20% of your utility bill. If your bottom line allows, a smart water heater is a wise investment.
[Related: Smart Home Technologies Supporting Aging in Place]
Having Control Wherever You Are
You’ve probably noticed that these perks share a theme (besides cost savings). It’s immensely valuable to control smart home energy consumption from home or abroad!
Think about all the times you’ve left the house without turning off a space heater, a fan, an appliance — whatever it may be. In terms of saving energy, smart home devices as small and affordable as smart plugs let you chip away at all that unnecessary power use. The ability to do so from wherever you happen to be cuts costs and eases stress!
Plus, staking vampire energy is fantastic for your bank account as well as the Earth. And the benefits go both ways, of course. If you’d prefer to have the lights (or just one device) on before you return from work, IoT tech and an app do the job.
Pro tip: With voice assistants and smart speakers, long-distance control is even simpler. Or maybe you don’t want to tinker with an app — that’s fine! Ask Alexa to turn up the heat, switch on the bathtub smart faucet and play multi-room music for a soothing soak.
[Related: Smart Home Voice Control Features That Simplify Your Daily Life]
Monitoring Your Overall Energy Use
This benefit is more cerebral, but it’s indispensable for long-term savings. Smart home energy monitoring apps come with many (if not most) smart home systems. You usually get a comprehensive view of your energy use, from hourly to annual periods.
When you spot suspicious patterns in your energy use, you can tweak your smart systems to fix the issue. (Maybe your teenager keeps forgetting to close your motorized shades, even though they’ve sworn they do it every morning.)
Furthermore, IoT apps and software frequently offer visualizations (like graphs and charts) to make matters clearer. That hard data comes in handy if you notice your utility bills inexplicably climbing.
If you prefer, you can purchase full-home energy monitors. That said, a little diligence with your current smart systems saves you that expense.
Pro tip: If you notice a hard spike when practicing smart home energy monitoring, contact your AV installation company. If the issue involves your tech and not your utility company, technicians can examine the stats and check your devices.
[Related: What To Look for in AV Installation Companies]
More Nifty Smart Home Energy-Saving Devices
We’ve touched on the primary smart home energy management systems/devices, but let’s dig a tiny bit deeper.
Overall, smart appliances are must-haves for top-notch energy efficiency, given you have networking. Ideally, you could own them all — but that’s not feasible for everyone. In a pinch, smart vents/range hoods and smart ceiling fans complement climate control, especially in the kitchen and attic.
When you’re ready to buy, Wirecutter offers curated lists of smart appliances large and small. But beyond appliances, here are a few more smart home energy-saving devices that also save you money:
- Smart home hubs for all-in-one control and visibility
- Smart motion sensors for instant lights and alerts, such as around windows, doors and hallways
- Smart cameras for checking your property, systems and devices, including for leaks and lingering lights
Pro tip: From ovens to washer-dryer stacks to water heaters, smart appliances come in a staggering number of models. If you’re looking for specific smart appliances per room, check out our bathroom, bedroom, living room and kitchen guides. We also cover smart home gyms, offices and entrances!
[Related: 5 Smart Gadgets for Your Home]
Find Your Perfect Smart Home Energy Management System at AV Smart Solutions
A smart home and energy efficiency match perfectly, save you long-term costs and reduce your carbon footprint. What’s not to love? And with so many smart home energy solutions, getting started is exciting — but maybe a bit daunting.
At AV Smart Solutions, we’re ready to not only offer advice but also take care of full-home installation. Our smart home system packages make selecting tech simple and your home automation journey easy!
When you’re ready to revamp or begin building your smart home, get in touch. Give us a call at (425) 655-5052 or complete our inquiry form to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to partnering with you!
Featured image via Pexels