Saving energy in a smart home: What you need to know in 2022

save energy with smart home tech
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No doubt the smart home makes our lives more comfortable and convenient. However, does it also make our lives more affordable and more sustainable? Yes, that's absolutely feasible as well. NextPit gives an overview of how it can work out for you in a smart home with energy savings included.

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When we talk about saving energy in a smart home setting, we inevitably also have to talk about the elephant in the room, or rather, in the smart home: Can we really save energy by introducing more technology into the home with an ever-increasing number of networkable devices? We cannot provide a blanket "Yes" to that question. But if you do it right, it is possible. This was already proven in 2019 in a study by the Öko-Institut on behalf of the NRW consumer advice center (in German).

You have a lot of savings potential especially when it comes to heating: In a house, up to 14% of heating costs can be saved annually, and up to 9% for apartments. However, if you use technology such as robotic lawn mowers or smart video doorbells in your smart home, this reduces your success in saving energy.

Such technologies mainly increase convenience and have hardly any positive impact on energy consumption. By the way, this does not apply to smart vacuum cleaner robots! They, too, are of course convenient, but they consume significantly less electricity than their counterparts, with whom you still have to whiz around the place personally.

So do bear in mind when you introduce smart home devices into your home that are often expensive, consume additional electricity, and sometimes need to be fed with batteries, which will have to be recycled later. However, there are a lot of things you can do to reduce overall operational costs and energy consumption. It will hopefully work out for you in the end, as you enjoy the comfort, convenience, as well as save energy and cash. How does this work? Let us check it out now!

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How to save energy and money in the smart home

Save on heating with smart thermostats

Turning down the heating by just one degree saves you an average of 6% on heating costs. Of course, this also depends on the overall insulation of your house or apartment. An old building that loses heat quickly has more savings potential than a new, well-insulated house.

Heizkörper mit smartem Heizkörperthermostat
Smart radiator thermostats can really save energy. / © Eve

While you can save in both cases, and there are different approaches to heating. If you decide to use smart heating, you will first have to consider some variables like different HVAC systems or electrical wiring. Do you already have an installed system and can you expand it further? Is it compatible with your smart assistant?

There are several ways to save energy when it comes to heating. You can program the heating to kick on only for it to heat up the space when you're at home and only at the particular room that requires it.

You can make sure that the heating is automatically turned off at certain times. Thanks to geofencing, such heating can detect whether someone is in the house. Sensors on doors and windows will also ensure that the heating is automatically turned down when someone opens a window. Finally, you can also use sensors to measure the air humidity. In this way, you can prevent possible mold growth.

So there are lots of ways to save energy and money. In addition, you can control your heating from the comfort of your couch, even by voice—or remotely via the app.

Detect power guzzlers and save with smart sockets

There is also a lot of talk about rising electricity bills these days. Those who want to/can afford to spend a lot of money simply buy new appliances. New washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators reduce your electricity costs through their inherent energy efficiency. But here, too, you can get started without spending too much money using smart technology.

Eine Frau steuert eine smarte Steckdose übers Smartphone
You can control your smart sockets via smartphone / © Daisy Daisy/Shutterstock

Smart sockets and adapter plugs allow you to switch off your devices via app or voice. You can also program the sockets so that your technical devices are automatically switched off in the evening. This prevents them from wasting electricity in standby mode, or vampiric electrical drain over a period of time. Again, this alone can make for a win-win situation: more convenience, less cost/energy!

But be careful: there are special cases in which it is not advisable to disconnect them from the mains all the time. For example, smart TVs can even get damaged by incorrect energy saving measures. The following WLAN socket is inexpensive, works without a hub and can also be operated via Google Home and Alexa:

But there are not only the smart WLAN sockets, which you use as an intermediate switch between the device and the socket. You can also purchase even smarter sockets that tell you how much power a specific device consumes. In this way, you can keep track in real-time via your smartphone of how much power your monitors, stereo system, or fan are consuming. As always, everything that you can measure, you can also save!

In this case, you can consider replacing excessively large power guzzlers with more energy-efficient models. Or you can simply use the smart socket to control the time period in which an appliance has access to electricity.

Saving with smart lighting

You've probably already asked yourself whether this article will shed any light on the subject of lighting (heh!). For many of us, lighting is the first step we take towards a smart home. If you take a look at our market overview of Philips Hue lamps, you'll get an idea of how versatile light can be in the smart home. Not only do you illuminate rooms, but you also create moods and the right backdrop for movie night.

Gradient Lighstrips von Philips Hue im Einsatz
Gradient Lighstrips from Philips Hue in action. / © Signify

But the smart LEDs definitely also bring savings potential. This is due to the technology of the lights alone. LEDs may be more expensive than conventional lights, but they generally consume only one-fifth of the electricity and last significantly longer. But be careful! Every smart lamp that is connected to the WLAN also draws power when switched off. This may only cost you about one dollar per year for a single light. But it adds up when your entire house has been completely converted to take advantage of smart lighting.

But you can still save money, and that's related to one of the smart home's core competencies: Detecting whether a smart device is being used. Here, too, you can program lights so that they are switched on or off at certain times. You can also turn off a forgotten light remotely.

Sensors can detect daylight and dim or turn off your lights based on it. In addition, you can install motion sensors to help you out. This will automatically turn on the light when you enter the room, and likewise, and it will also automatically turn off again.

We have now explored three major areas that can save you money in addition to the comfort and convenience benefits of the smart home. There's still plenty you can do around the house, and we at NextPit are eager to dig deeper into the topic. So take this post as a rough path to follow if you want to get started on your smart home.

Please feel free to leave us your comments if you've been living in a smart home for a while and have more energy-saving tips for us. Which area do you save the most at home and what can you recommend to the NextPit community?

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