Smart homes may be cool and convenient, but do they reduce your energy use?
Smart technology comes with the promise of convenience, energy savings, ease of installation and more. And although it's true that certain smart home devices can help you cut unnecessary energy use, what about smart technology as a whole? Can you really save energy by adding more electronic devices to your home?
Smart doesn't always mean green
Yes, smart devices can help you save energy. But, no, not all of them will.
While smart power strips, smart bulbs and smart thermostats can curb your energy use, other smart devices like speakers and cameras will increase your household energy use. Though they have other benefits — security, home monitoring and general peace of mind — they weren't designed to help you save energy.
Still, homes equipped with these devices tend to save energy overall. Smart homes use an estimated 30-40% less energy on average, though that percentage can decrease in certain homes depending on exactly how that technology is used.
Proper use is the key
Smart devices are designed to reduce your energy consumption, but actual results are based on multiple factors, including how these devices are used, how energy efficient your home is and more.
If your home previously had a nonprogrammable thermostat, switching to a smart thermostat can net you some impressive energy savings. If you had a programmable model and adjusted it regularly, however, you may see little change in your energy bill.
Then, there's how interact with your smart devices. Though the technology is typically easy to set up and use, those not used to smart devices may choose the wrong settings. Overriding settings and other personal behaviors can reduce potential savings as well.
Lastly, another major factor in how your smart devices will perform is your home itself. A smart thermostat can adjust temperatures to save energy based on your schedule. But if your home is older or has passive energy wasters — such as single-pane windows, insufficient insulation and gaps under doors — your smart thermostat may not be the easy fix for reducing energy use.
Smart technology can't do all the work
Though many smart devices — like smart plugs and bulbs — can carry a load of energy savings with little input from you, a lot still relies on the homeowner. Energy monitoring devices can give you great insight into how your home uses energy, but in that situation, making changes to be more efficient is on you.
Adding the appropriate smart devices and appliances that can communicate with each other to a home environment that allows them to do their job correctly is the key to achieving energy savings and enjoying all the other benefits smart technology offers.
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