Are Smart Homes Energy Efficient?

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Society’s environmental awareness has increased over the past decade. Individuals attempt to improve their lifestyles’ sustainability by shrinking their carbon footprints. Adopting energy-efficient technology and reducing ecologically degrading activities may enhance one’s eco-friendliness.

A significant portion of pollution derives from the residential sector. Homeowners can effectively minimize greenhouse gas emissions by installing smart appliances. The technology may help residents maintain modern lifestyles while improving their climate change prevention efforts.  

What Are Smart Homes?

Smart is an acronym for Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology. The devices conduct autonomous functions and connect to the internet through a Wi-Fi connection. Smart homes use multiple connected devices, increasing a resident’s convenience.

As modern lifestyles become busier, the demand for autonomous house monitoring increases. Researchers predict smart technology will enter 70.6 million homes by 2023. While autonomous residential systems expand, individuals may question, “Are smart homes energy efficient?”

Smart devices use significantly less electricity compared to other appliances. When individuals install the systems, they can effectively reduce their emissions and utility costs. Engineers examined the efficiency challenges in conventional homes before creating autonomous technology, improving national sustainability.   

Efficiency Challenges in Conventional Structures

The residential sector produces nearly 20% of national greenhouse gas emissions. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, along with lighting, make up most of a home’s energy use. In America, a significant portion of the power supply derives from fossil fuels, like natural gas and oil.

When inefficient devices over consume electricity, they contribute to the enhanced greenhouse effect. The combustion of fossil fuels releases air pollutants into the environment, disrupting Earth’s natural temperature control process. When emissions invade the atmosphere, they alter its composition and ability to maintain vital surface conditions.

Without the presence of emissions, Earth absorbs solar radiation and produces heat. Then, it warms its surface and collects excess energy. Depending on its temperature needs, it may reprocess the elements to create more heat or send them to space.

Greenhouse gas emissions alter the process because they have a more efficient sunlight-to-heat exchange rate. They also hold excess energy in the atmosphere, continuously re-filtering it through the heat production process. Over time, the emissions raise Earth’s temperature, creating adverse environmental effects.

Outdated and inefficient HVAC systems, lights and sprinklers technology can significantly expand a resident’s carbon footprint. They may also degrade the local air quality, producing adverse health effects. One’s long-term exposure to emissions may increase their risk of lung cancer, asthma, respiratory illnesses, stroke and heart attack.

Residents can protect themselves against emission-related illnesses by developing an energy-efficient smart house. Three key systems support a sustainable property, and individuals may adopt them to shrink their carbon footprints and energy bills, answering the question, “Are smart homes energy efficient?”

1. Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats connect to a home’s HVAC system, regulating indoor temperatures to enhance efficiency. They use the Internet of Things (IoT), helping residents control their systems remotely. The thermostat technology reduces energy waste, allowing individuals to turn off their HVAC devices from outside of the home.

The smart technology also uses the IoT to access local weather predictions, turning a system off during a cool summer night to save energy. It additionally uses motion detection sensors, shutting off HVAC devices in vacant homes. Over time, the small temperature adjusting features can make a significant ecological impact.  

2. Smart Lights

Smart light systems also increase a home’s energy efficiency using technological advancements. Nearly 5% of global air pollution derives from lighting. Incandescent bulbs use unnecessary quantities of electricity and burn out quickly, producing atmospheric and surface-level waste.

The smart lighting systems connect to light-emitting diode bulbs, using significantly less electricity than conventional bulbs. They also connect to a homeowner’s smartphone, helping them control their lights remotely. Some systems also have natural light detectors, dimming or turning off bulbs, helping individuals utilize emission-less light sources.  

3. Smart Sprinklers

As the global temperature rises, the heightened evaporation rate causes elongated drought periods. Individuals preserve their landscapes through dry phases by frequently watering their lawns. Sprinkler systems may use high quantities of energy and water, causing resource exploitation.

Professionals evaluated the efficiency challenges of conventional sprinkler systems and developed autonomous versions, enhancing their sustainability. The device connects to the internet, accessing real-time weather reading, reducing energy loss from inefficient watering times. Residents may also control systems from their smartphones, skipping a watering day when their landscapes appear lush.

Choosing the Right Smart Tech for Your Home

Before investing in a new smart home system, receiving an energy audit is essential. Once you understand your property’s major energy loss regions, you can increase its efficiency with compatible technology. Individuals should additionally conduct research on the system and the manufacturer before making their purchase, ensuring the device’s sustainability. 

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About the author

Jane Marsh

Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.