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How home automation can help to reduce household energy bills

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At a time when eminent scientists are warning about the dangers of global warming, the subject of home automation has never been so relevant. Home automation involves the control of domestic appliances, utilities and technology via remote, automated systems. It allows people to limit their use of energy to only what is absolutely necessary, and although its use is relatively limited at present, it has the potential to help reduce carbon emissions considerably. The latest home automation technology can be used in several areas of an average home, and the energy savings that are achievable could make the required technology a cost-effective investment.

How it works

A lot of people are needlessly running up large energy bills without even realising it. Leaving a light on in an empty room; making rooms unnecessarily bright; leaving the central heating on for an hour longer than it needs to be on; seemingly innocuous acts can soon add up over the course of a year. However, a few savings here and there are all it takes to dramatically cut annual electricity and gas bills. A home automation system can work in two ways, but it is always based on the principle of reducing wasted energy to a minimum. Not all home automation systems can save energy; an energy-saving system will, itself, require energy. This means that it must save more energy than it expends in order to deliver a positive overall effect on energy usage and the environment.

A centralised control system can be programmed by a user according to required heating and lighting levels. However, a more intuitive system will utilise isolated sensors to make constant adjustments to heating and lighting levels depending on environmental factors. For instance, a home’s lighting levels can be controlled wirelessly by a single control panel, or a series of sensors can continuously gauge temperature levels in a home, adjusting heating levels continuously to maintain a constant ambient temperature. Some homes now have highly sophisticated, integrated systems that give control over all a home’s appliances and technology via a single interface.

Heating and cooling home automation

A home automation system can control far more than heating and cooling. Passive heating and cooling can be controlled by the automated operation of vents, fans, blinds and awnings. These physical aspects of a home can be manipulated in conjunction with a home’s heating and cooling systems to keep a home at a constant temperature.

Many householders make the mistake of allowing the temperature within the home to deviate too far away from what is comfortable. The cost involved in achieving the optimum ambient temperature can be high when such a dramatic change is required. However, keeping a home’s temperature constant through home automation will require far less energy in the long term. Some systems will allow the user to set ideal ambient temperatures for each room centrally, and others will require programming individually. As hot water supplies are usually linked to central heating, these same systems can also be used to ensure that hot water is available only when it is required.

 

Lighting

People are living hectic and stressful lives these days, and forgetting that lights are switched on is an incredibly easy mistake to make when so much is going on in the average family home. And it would be a shame to waste the money you spent on energy saving lightbulbs on larger bills due to forgetfulness. However, motion sensors mean householders don’t have to rely on their own memories. When no movement has been detected for a predefined period of time, a home automation system can turn off the light supply to that specific area. And when someone finally enters the room, the motion sensors will pick up the movement and switch the lights back on. This system removes the possibility of human error, and it can make a huge difference to an annual electricity bill. It is also possible to set these systems via timers – perfect for outdoor lighting or for deterring burglars.

 

Home automation – by its very nature – is constantly adapting to new technologies, and it seems that the latest systems are becoming increasingly user-friendly. The perfecting of mobile apps and voice-activated automation is making it easier for people to control their domestic energy efficiency. That could keep energy bills low – and help to tackle climate change in the process.

For more information on energy efficient lighting and home automation, visit www.lightbulbworld.co.uk

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