In an increasingly connected world, it’s not unusual to hear the home described in terms of its intelligence. It’s usually a statement associated with how many connected devices are under one roof—and there’s a bunch of them. And of this bunch, it’s usually a collection associated with either a security or efficiency throughline. From door locks and video cameras to lightbulbs and thermostats — though not necessarily in competition — dual perspectives that flow into a smart home estuary. Fortunately, it’s not an either or scenario. Efficiency doesn’t preclude security and vice versa. But efficiency — energy efficiency specifically — changes the game in your home. What does it do? It can optimize your home’s energy resources in a way that’s never before been possible.
With so many options out there, what are the in-home basics that’ll make your house more modern, more power-efficient, and more alive? We’ve mulled this over and here’s what the Labs crew considers to be the essentials that’ll step up your home’s energy efficiency.
A (Very) Smart Home App
First, the goal of a smart home is to make life more comfortable. But as it stands now, it’s a fragmented experience where you need a new app for every device that you install. Between the remote for the cable, television, speakers and more, we’ve seen this show before. At the outset, what matters most here is an app that provides a unified experience. (Voice control is fast coming, and is going to be significant, but remember, it’s still young.)
At its core, a smart home is an interconnected arrangement of devices that communicate and perform certain daily tasks without you having to do it. To work, it has to actually be able to communicate with, and between, the ecosystem of devices in your home. Better still, it should be a platform that doesn’t just connect all your devices, but guides a holistic relationship between you and energy usage within your home.
That’s why we’ve designed our app experience with this in mind—and so much more. It not only controls all the devices in your home, it’s where you can see all relevant energy usage info in one place. It’s also where you can program your in-home energy efficiency settings so that it’s tailored to you personally. Soon, you'll be able to use your devices to create scenes, rules, and automations to make your home incrementally more intelligent and efficient as time passes. In other words, save energy and wring more of the “smart” out of the smart home.
This is massive touchpoint within the home. For starters, thermostats control the energy in our homes. Unlike the traditional thermostat where you’d program everything, the smart thermostat remembers for you. It learns your normal schedule by observing your movements, or constantly shifting schedules. You use less when not home and as needed while home. And of course, it provides you the ability to change settings on the fly from wherever you are (via app or voice control) when your schedule changes.
The same can be said for smart lights. All smart lights are LEDs and consume far less electricity than incandescent and even fluorescent bulbs. A typical smart bulb is 5.5W (candle bulbs) which is roughly equivalent to a 60W incandescent bulb in terms of brightness. Another basic feature of smart bulbs is that you can dim many of them without having to install dimmer switches in your home. We’ve all seen the the movies of the future where you come home and you’re greeted by your home with a unique lighting scene. This is that technology and that moment— greater efficiency, all from the palm of your hand.
A smart plug or switch kills "vampire draw" and is the easiest and cheapest way to make any appliance in your home "smart." It regulates the power and control of portable A/C units, smart TVs, AV systems, and various small appliances without needing to be in the room — or the country, for that matter. With them, you'll be able to wirelessly control all of the above from the confines of your phone.
There are many other smart home products, but from our point of view, these are the essentials that can make your home operate smarter and reduce its energy usage—bringing it into into the 21st century. This doesn’t mean that other perspectives aren’t valid. It’s that they miss out on a throughline that literally runs through everything that we do in our homes: energy.
Consider this a starting point where you begin to transform your home into an ever-evolving and learning location with a drastically more efficient energy footprint.
Interested in learning more about ways to make your home smarter? Check us out.