11 Ways to Optimize Your Smart Home Energy Efficiency Plan
Homeowners who are climate-conscious seem to be on the rise, if the projected sale of smart homes is any indication. Experts are forecasting a continuous increase in the global number of households in the smart home market between 2023 and 2027 by more than 311 million. And the total number of smart homes worldwide is expected to peak in 2027 at more than 670 million.
While many factors play into the decision to purchase a smart home, from enhanced comfort and personalization to improved security and safety, energy efficiency often tops the list for many. Buyers searching for ways to save money and lower energy bills expect smart technology to lower electricity and heating and cooling costs. Others hold on to the idea that access to smart technology almost automatically reduces their overall carbon footprint.
What they don’t know is that many smart-home owners are enjoying only a fraction of the energy efficiency savings they could be. If you own a smart home or are considering a smart home for your next big move, here are 11 ways to ensure all that technology is as efficient as can be:
1. Start with a compatibility plan
If you want your smart home to be as energy efficient as possible, create a compatibility plan. Make a list of the devices and solutions you want your smart home to possess, from smart speakers to your home’s security system. Now do a bit of research to make sure all the devices you want are compatible. In other words, will they talk to one another? For example, will your Amazon Echo Dot connect to your ADT security system? (It will.) And will it connect to your Google Nest camera? (It won’t.)
Incompatible devices will operate just fine on their own, but when they share data and work together, your smart home is much more energy efficient. And compatibility could save you money in the long run.
2. Make sure smart home devices are integrated and automated
Smart devices are built to work together. When you integrate, or connect, devices like your smart thermostat and occupancy sensors, they learn from one another, increasing the energy efficiency of your home and reaching their true potential.
Add automation to the mix and you can reduce energy waste even further. All automation means is setting up schedules or activating machine learning options that will learn homeowner preferences and automatically activate them.
3. Don’t give your devices complete control
You would think smart devices would essentially be “set it and forget it,” but even those devices that can learn your living patterns benefit from manual adjustment now and then. When electronics aren’t needed, it’s better to turn off or unplug them. Many inactive devices are wasting energy by drawing power even when they’re not active, decreasing your home’s overall energy efficiency. Unplugging these items is one of several simple ways to save money on your electric bill, as well.
4. Build a strong, reliable network
If your smart machines are acting sluggish – running slow, disconnecting from the internet, using way too much data – your network infrastructure may need maintenance. Invest in an internet package that includes more bandwidth to avoid overcrowding from devices sharing your network, along with a high-quality Wi-Fi router. position your router away from obstructions in the middle of your home, and extend its reach with mesh systems to build a robust, reliable network. Extra points if you select energy-efficient network equipment.
5. Update your firmware regularly
Firmware is software that provides instructions that starts up your smartphone or thermostat, for example, as well as helps one smart device communicate with another device. You most likely see this term whenever the manufacturer pushes an update to your device.
If you’re like most people, you probably ignore that note, especially if the manufacturer sends frequent updates. Ignoring the update isn’t a great idea, however. It means you’re missing out on bug fixes, performance improvements, new features, and even energy-saving enhancements. One way to make sure you don’t miss an update is to tell your smart device to automatically accept firmware updates when they come through. This removes the burden of ensuring your software is maintained with the latest firmware patch.
6. Optimize your smart device settings
When you install a smart device, it relies on its default settings to begin work. Those default settings may not be the most energy-efficient option, however. Or they may not fit your individual lifestyle.
Take some time to learn how to adjust the settings for all your devices, big and small. Focus first on your needs and what you want your smart home to accomplish for you. Then do your best to optimize the systems’ energy usage. For example, program your home to turn on lights as you arrive or program your smart thermostat to adjust temperatures while your away to conserve energy and help lower energy costs.
7. Verify smart home energy savings claims
Just because someone claims their smart device is energy efficient doesn’t mean it is. To ensure you’re getting the most energy savings for your investment, select devices and appliances that come with proper certification or third-party verification.
For example, when choosing smart appliances, select something that’s received Energy Star certification. You’ll know that your choice has met stringent energy-efficient standards.
8. Lower your voice
The ability to control your smart home via voice command is one of those features that truly feels like a sci-fi movie come true. Asking your virtual assistant to provide family dinner ideas or play an old TV theme song is fun, but those voice commands consume energy, often unnecessarily.
Depending on how energy efficient you want your home to be, consider when and why you use voice commands to activate your smart home’s features.
9. Monitor energy use
There’s a good chance your smart home system is regularly monitoring energy use in your home and providing you with a report that shows you how you’re doing. Learning how to analyze the report and act on that analysis will help you optimize your home’s energy use even further.
Following trends might even reveal when a smart device has a problem or will need to be replaced. You might also learn when your family uses the most energy and then adjust schedules to better manage peak times in your home.
10. Don’t neglect the smart home ecosystem
Remember how we talked a bit about “set it and forget it”? There are plenty of smart homeowners who do just that, never monitoring how well the system is operating or adjusting device settings as their environment changes, from seasonal temperatures to increased home occupancy when the kids are off for the summer.
Regularly review energy consumption data, adjusting when necessary, and teach your smart home what to do. Actively engaging with your smart home is the only way it will provide you with the most energy-efficient system possible.
11. Optimize your smart home savings with clean energy
Power your smart home with clean energy to ensure even greater efficiency. Clean energy refers to energy produced with little to no greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). This includes low-carbon and carbon-free energy sources such as nuclear power.
Choosing an energy supplier like Energy Harbor that generates safe, reliable, carbon-free nuclear energy is an easy way to help ensure a low-carbon future – and any homeowner can take advantage of a fixed-rate clean energy plan.