Inefficient home energy systems cost us money and increase pressure on the world's resources, but home automation can make a world of difference.
There are two great reasons to use energy efficiently. Closest to home is the fact that by using less energy, we save money. That's money which we can spend on other, perhaps more exciting things!
The second reason to use energy efficiently is that it reduces the pressure that a growing global population is putting on the planet's resources.
In many cases reductions in energy use also lead to reductions in the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted, thereby helping the fight against climate change. In Jersey over 95% of Jersey's electricity already comes from low carbon sources, but we can still save money and help to conserve resources by improving our efficiency.
Easy in theory, harder in practice
Frustratingly, home energy efficiency is one of those things that's easy in theory but more difficult in practice. Theoretically, we can all save large amounts of energy simply by switching off the lights when we leave a room, or by turning down the heating when the temperature rises, or at night when we're warm enough in our beds.
The problem is that we are all prone to forgetting to do these things. It doesn't take much effort to switch off a light, but we've all walked out of the house at some point and unintentionally left the lights or heating on at full blast.
Of course, many of us use low energy light bulbs and have well insulated homes, all of which reduces our energy use and minimises the amount of waste, but the problem still remains that manual operation is inefficient.
The perfect combination
Thankfully, in an Internet-enabled world, technology is now capable of automating the consumption of energy in our homes. In fact, it can be automated to the level of detecting whether or not people are in a room or have left the home entirely.
When sensor technology is combined with the Internet of Things (IoT) it becomes possible to automate and remotely operate virtually every device in the home. More and more home appliances are now made with wireless connectivity, ready to join to the internet straight out of the box and communicate with other appliances on the same wifi network, or even on the other side of the world.
Crucially, today's automation systems have gone far beyond the ability to programme devices so they are turned on and off at particular times. The fact that technology can detect whether a room is in use or a window has been opened, and then adjust usage accordingly, means home automation can have a dramatic effect on your energy efficiency.
Save with smart technology
There are various smart control systems on the market, ranging from the basic MiGenie to the self-learning Nest control. Stocked at the Powerhouse, the Nest Learning Thermostat learns your energy use behaviours and automatically adapts the home environment to the way it is being used.
Nest's energy saving capabilities have been shown in independent studies to save people an average of 10% to 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills. This means that it could pay for itself in under two years. Not for you? Then MiGenie simply allows you to control your heating and hot water on and off remotely from your smart phone.
There's no doubt that home automation is the next step in energy efficiency. At JE, we'll be delighted to speak with you about the Nest Learning Thermostat and the many other ways that you can reduce energy use in your home.
Remember, energy efficiency doesn't just save the planet - it saves you money too!