Energy Saving Home Automation Technology

There are so many cool things that you can do with home automation technology, some people find it difficult to know where to start. Home automation is all about turning your regular old ‘dumb’ bricks and mortar building into a ‘smart home’, capable of giving you extra control, improved convenience, and even anticipating what you want and providing it for you automatically.

Because your home is your personal space, and because everybody’s home, lifestyle and habits are different, most home automation systems are highly customized and personalized to suit your own personal needs. If you contact a home automation company to install a system for you, they probably won’t start off by showing you a brochure, but by talking to you about your lifestyle preferences and living habits in a consultation, so as to create something entirely customized.

The huge range of different things you can do, combined with the lack of ‘off the shelf’ solutions can be bewildering. To cut through this, when I am talking to people who are considering having a home automation system installed, or are thinking about putting together a DIY installation themselves, or even just people who want to know more about what is possible out of pure curiosity, I often recommend starting off with energy saving technology.

Of course home automation can be about creating the ‘home of the future’, replete with artificial intelligence capable of learning how to please you and a whole host of super-high tech gadgets doing cool and useful things. But all of this can be quite expensive – so I always think that it is nice to start off with a few cheap and simple systems that will actually end up saving you money on your energy bills. If you are an environmentally conscious kind of person, then reducing your energy use also has the added benefit of reducing your carbon footprint and therefore your negative impact on the environment.

There are several different types of energy saving home automation technology which are cheap to buy, and can easily be installed yourself.

Energy Saving Home Automation Lighting Gadgets

The most basic improvement your can make to your lighting which provides you with useful and enjoyable new functionality as well as helping you to save energy is to install dimmers. This is a very simple and cheap technology indeed, which at its most basic level just involves a different type of switch. Many people already have dimmer switches in fact, and on its own they probably aren’t high-tech enough to be classified as home automation technology, but there are also loads of great systems available now which let you control and dim your lighting from a phone app using your home’s WIFI connection. This is much more convenient than using wall switches, or even remote control handsets.

Dimming allows you to save energy because a dimmer light uses less energy, so the added control allows you to use only as much electricity as you actually need rather than having to put your lights on full power even if you only need a little bit of extra light. It is also quite nice to be able to adjust your lighting to fit the situation – a basic form of ‘mood lighting’. Dimmers can be retrofitted onto any lamps you have as well as your main ceiling lights.

The only thing you need to remember is that not all types of light bulb are dimmable. Unfortunately many energy saving bulbs cannot be dimmed, so in the past a lot of people who wanted dimmers were forced to continue using the old and inefficient filament lamp style of light bulb, which wipes out any energy savings you may gain from the dimmer. Today there are some very good LED bulbs available, which are very efficient and are also dimmable, so if you care about reducing your energy bills you should choose this type of bulb.

The next step up in making your lighting ‘smarter’ and less energy hungry is to install sensors and automated routines. Motion or occupancy sensors can be installed that will automatically turn off the lights in a room when it is empty, making sure that you aren’t wasting energy lighting up empty rooms. Taking things even further, you can install a light sensor which will automatically dim your lights to the appropriate level if they are turned on when it is only just starting to get dark. And of course the same technology can be used to add other convenient features like turning on the lights (to an appropriately dimmed level) when you walk into a room.

Energy Saving Wall Sockets

Once your lighting has been upgraded the next step is to turn your attention towards the power sockets on your walls. Adding remote control functionality to your wall sockets – again from a mobile phone if you find this more convenient – makes it much easier for you to save energy. Many people leave a lot of their electronic devices, such as televisions for example, on standby mode when they are not being used. Reaching behind cabinets and rummaging around in a tangle of cables to turn something off at the wall is a real hassle – even walking over and pushing a button to switch something off is a bit of a hassle compared to just hitting the standby button on your remote. But with remote controlled sockets you can turn the power off at the wall just as easily as you would put a device on standby – more easily in fact, as you can turn everything off with one click.

If you want you can even have a wall switch which turns a whole room off when you leave rather than just the lights, or if you have the sensors described above you can program your house to do this for you when a room has been unoccupied for a pre-defined amount of time! These sockets also allow for extra safety in houses with small children, as you can turn off unused sockets in your child’s room when you aren’t there to supervise them.

Energy Monitors

If you are really serious about saving energy then one of the most useful ‘smart home’ tools is an energy monitor. These gadgets can tell you exactly how much electricity each of your devices is using, so that you can prioritize and plan different ways to reduce your electricity consumption.

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