Since mid-March 2020, families have transitioned their homes from a place of rest to the office, classroom, gym, and restaurant.
What used to be just the place we lay our heads has become so much more as a result of the global pandemic. The full-scale impacts are inconceivable.
As we reckon with this year of change, one thing that we need to acknowledge is our energy consumption. From lights and HVAC systems to WiFi and phone bills, residential utility usage is on the rise. The renewable energy company Arcadia found that just before the summer, consumers were expected to see a 10% increase in their utility bills for June, July and August. That percent increase doesn’t even include summer electricity bill surges. Pre-pandemic, the US was on track for a steady increase in annual energy consumption in all sectors. However, with everyone spending a lot more time at home, the brunt of that usage is now falling on residences.
Smart Homes were created to counter situations like the ones homeowners are facing now. They exist to create efficiency and turn overwhelming amounts of technology into human-error-proof luxuries that operate self-sufficiently.
It’s safe to say that between transitioning to a permanent work from home situation and teaching kiddos how to use Zoom, most families are having technological epiphanies. Shouldn’t this be easier? Why isn’t my Wifi more reliable? We used how much electricity this month? I wish this technology were simple enough for the whole family.
Features That Can Lower Your Utility Bills
RELIABLE, WHOLE-HOME WIFI
SMART, SCHEDULABLE APPLIANCES
Whole home WiFi is the true first step to creating a smart home. All smart technology functions on WiFi and without a reliable connection, it all falls apart. We recommend buying your own equipment from Ubiquiti, as opposed to leasing it. Their equipment gets you started with a hardy, reliable jumping-off point. We also recommend hard wiring every instance of technology possible. This insures consistent performance. Often, customers are happy with their WiFi in some rooms but completely at a loss in the far reaches of the estate. We explain our solution to that in a video here, by installing extenders.
ONE REMOTE CONTROL FOR EVERYTHING
Smart Appliances transform your home into a more efficient space. We are referring to those appliances that can operate without manual control – such as a water heater or thermostat. When you allow a tech integrator to automate these appliances, you can place them on schedules that work around your family’s life. Schedules reduce wasted energy use and your utility bill.
If you’re tired of using a dozen remote controls to watch TV versus Netflix, or game versus play music, we have a solution. When you integrate your home technology, you can distribute content across the home from one simple remote. We use RTI’s control options – and there are plenty of them. It doesn’t just work for home entertainment either! These controllers will manage any system you have automated: lights, security, thermostat, etc.
REMOTELY ACCESSIBLE SECURITY SYSTEM
Speaking of security, there’s not a single feature that brings more peace of mind and convenience than an automated security system. Imagine locking or unlocking doors from your personal device or opening the garage to receive a package, ensuring it’s in place via remote camera feed access when you aren’t even home. The automated security system, installed by Granite, allows remote access to locks, alarm systems, smart doorbells, and gate and garage control.
ENERGY USE TRACKING
The final home upgrade we want to discuss is energy monitoring. Smarter Homes can equip you with the ability to see real time watt usage rates in your home via a smart meter. That way you can see if all these smart home features are making a dent in your usage and then cater your scheduling around peak use hours. It also helps you keep track of any forgotten lights or devices that are still causing an energy spike.
Next- Level, Zero Waste Automations
Putting your blinds on schedule is a next-level option for conserving resources and adding a touch of elegance. If you’re away from the home or not using certain rooms at certain times, there is no reason for sunlight to stream in and heat up your house. Take a load off of your thermostat with scheduled blinds and shades.
The opportunities for irrigation scheduling is are absolutely superior to any kind of do it yourself lawn watering timers using Rachio. With smart irrigation, sensors can detect precipitation levels in the solid and humidity levels in the air so that watering is only happening when absolutely necessary. Reduce your water use and waste with a smart irrigation system.
Solar is truly the way of the future. It is the most abundant, inexhaustible, renewable source of clean energy that is available to homeowners. It is a low-cost, easy installation process that can transform your home’s carbon footprint for the better. We have a great breakdown of the application of solar power in our feature of The Verge’s Home of the Future.