Smart homes equipped with home energy management systems are becoming increasingly popular. This should not come as a surprise as they offer convenience, security, potential savings in energy consumption, and are also environmentally friendly. The growing interest in smart homes is reflected in data. Globally, the rate of penetration for smart home technologies is expected to reach 38,7% by 2021, up from 2016’s 8,2% (Lifehack).
From basic smart appliances to fully-featured smart home solutions, the growing number of people decide to buy them to reduce energy usage and bills. Is it really possible to squeeze something out of your annual expenses? How much can you really save with smart tech? We decided to run a test.
To find out what is the actual saving of heat and electricity from the use of smart devices, we used the simulation program which enables us to create two numerical energy models. In the first one, we didn’t use the home automation system, while in the second, we connected the Appartme solution which allows a user to take full control of heating and electricity, even when the residents are not at home.
The analysis concerned a flat with an area of 42 m2, equipped with a hall with kitchen, a living room connected with the room, a dining room, and a bathroom; It was assumed that the flat is located in Warsaw and there are two working people living in it. Its annual heat and electricity demand was 3165 and 1342 kWh, respectively.
The analysis of the electrical system
The simulation showed that the daily electricity savings connected to the use of a home automation system amounted to 6,4%. Within a month, the Appartme system would reduce consumption by 2,8%-3,8%, which gives approx. 3,3% savings per year.
What stands behind such savings? How can a home automation system help reduce energy consumption? First of all, it offers a user the ability to remotely control devices. It’s very easy to forget to turn them off when you leave the house in a hurry, despite the fact that the meter beats relentlessly. Thanks to the mobile application connected to the automation system installed at home, you do not have to worry about mistakenly left a light or switched on devices.
This is particularly important when it comes to so-called “energy vampires,” devices that consume energy each time they are connected, even when the user is not actively using them. The most dreadful ones are smartphone and laptop chargers and devices with active-standby modes, such as TV sets. The user can avoid this kind of energy drain by disconnecting each device individually, but this process can be cumbersome. Luckily, with the use of a smart plugin, the power may be turned off automatically for devices not in use or in standby mode.
What can the automation system do for the user in terms of lighting? Well, the best smart lighting products save money in two ways: one, by helping you program a lighting system that automatically turns off when you’re not using it. Two, many LED smart bulbs are more energy-efficient than their older counterparts, which means the user receives the same amount of light for less energy expenditure.
The above has been confirmed by our analysis: If you leave the 25 W light on before all residents leave work, the use of the Appartme system saves about 12% of daily electricity.
The analysis of the heating system
Also in the case of heating, the simulation confirmed significant energy savings thanks to the use of a home automation system. The Appartme solution allowed a daily thermal energy saving of 23,5%. On a monthly basis, this would reduce consumption by 10% to 13%, which means that the users could save up to 11,5% of the expenses for heating per year.
Savings could be much higher in the case of tilted or unsealed windows, mistakenly left in the absence of users. Thanks to the constant control of the condition of the windows, which are the weakest barrier for heat escaping from the house, savings could increase up to 29%.
How can smart devices help reduce energy consumption for heating or cooling? Intelligent thermostats learn the habits of household members and prevent them from unnecessarily heating or cooling unused spaces. They give full control over the temperature in the apartment so that even when there are no residents, it can be adjusted remotely with a smartphone.
In addition, smart thermostats constantly collect information on the behavior of household members, using presence sensors and programmed schemes to adapt to their individual needs. The system knows exactly how long it takes to heat the apartment to the right temperature so that users can enjoy the desired temperature at any time.
The functional automation system allows for an in-depth analysis of the energy consumption at home. Constant monitoring enables users to understand where is the room for improvement, and the enhancement of energy patterns allows for significant energy savings, and thus, reduction of bills.
According to Eurostat, Poles spent on average 10% of their household budgets on heating. This means that every tenth zloty spent on house maintenance goes to energy carriers. This is one of the highest results in Europe. In addition, the rising prices of gas, coal, and electricity mean that the risk of higher charges in the current heating season is greater than in the same period last year.
All this means that the investment in a smart home, despite the relatively high initial contribution, will significantly reduce heating bills in the long term.
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