As electricity prices skyrocket and consumers become increasingly aware of their environmental footprint, it’s the little acts in life that add up to make a big difference to the hip pocket, the consumption of non-renewable resources, and the emission of greenhouse gases.
Simple strategies like reducing household power usage and keeping check on your water use offer a very real financial and environmental reward.
The smart home has a host of features that are designed to encourage smart energy and water use. So, here are just some of the areas that the smart home can assist in reducing your environmental footprint.
Some cold hard stats
According to the Australian Government, household energy consumption can be roughly broken down into four main domains:
- Heating and cooling – 40% of household electricity consumption
- Appliances and equipment including refrigeration and cooking – 33% of household electricity consumption
- Water heating – 21% of household electricity consumption
- Lighting – 6% of household electricity consumption.
Meanwhile, households are responsible for about one-fifth of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions with the average household’s energy use generating over seven tonnes of emissions each year.
Water wise, Australians are the greatest per capita consumers of water globally, using an average of 100,000L of freshwater per person annually. That’s despite the fact the average annual rainfall in Australia is around 470mm a year, well below the global average.
So how can the smart home assist?
With appliances connected to a single central hub, the smart home can monitor electricity consumption, allowing users an insight into what’s drawing power, when. This enables you to shut off appliances that are drawing excess power or tailor their usage to more appropriate times.
For example, you can schedule your dryer and dishwasher to run at off-peak times to save money, or you can remotely switch off items that would otherwise drain power when not in use.
The Australian Government environment website notes: “The various home automation systems available can contribute to management of different energy uses around the home, and provide important feedback to householders by displaying real-time electricity use”.
Monitoring doesn’t just work in isolation. The smart home allows you to be more responsive to your environment through settings and scenes.
Say for example, your home heats up in the afternoon due to the western sun. The smart home can work in a series of ways to respond accordingly by:
- Lowering external awnings to block afternoon sunlight and heat.
- Closing internal curtains and blinds
- Opening ventilation
Each of these factors works to lower the ambient temperature, rather than just relying on air-conditioned cooling to reduce the temperature in the home.
You can establish these features to occur at a pre-set time, by remote command, or automatically by sensing the temperature.
Although lighting only accounts for an average of 6% of the home’s electricity consumption, small improvements in efficiency add up. With automated lighting that includes sensors, you can set your lights to only turn on when someone enters a room, run to a scene that you activate, or turn them off remotely even after you leave the home.
The smart garden is another area where technology can play a very real role in reducing your environmental footprint. Features like plant and lawn sensors allow you to automatically irrigate only when required. Many have the capability of gauging the weather, taking stock of the soil moisture and only watering the required areas of the garden when necessary, using the right volume to meet needs.
The final word
Smart homes are playing a very real role in reducing Australian household’s water and electricity consumption. Coupled with additional eco-friendly attributes like solar heating, improved insulation and the selection of energy efficient appliances, they have the potential to reduce our environmental footprint even further.
Lera Smart Home Solutions is a leading installer of smart home technology in the greater Sydney region. Our team boasts over 20 years’ experience in IT networking, programming and the electrical industry.
We have sourced the most reliable and cost efficient solutions from around the world to provide the very best in smart home solutions, and work with our clients to understand their needs.