Though a smart home may not help with calculus homework, it is intelligent, no less. That's because a sustainable smart home is designed with energy efficiency as its top priority and ease of use coming in a close second.
But just what does smart home technology really mean? It means lowered energy bills and increased efficiency thanks to its many automated components. It also means control in the palm of your hand. And this, dear friends, is sure to improve the quality of your life.
Many smart homes feature smart lighting, which allows users to control lighting and its intensity remotely using an internet connection. It can be set to produce less light during the day and more in the evenings thus reducing energy usage and extending the life of the bulbs.
Even your HVAC system can benefit from smart design by adjusting the thermostat to operate during non-peak hours or by allowing users to override the settings remotely. Some systems such as the Nest are also able to detect when someone is home (or not) and adjust room temperature accordingly, thus reducing the energy bill while increasing personal comfort.
Safety and Security
Your home is your castle, and you should feel as safe as possible in it. That's why smart home design includes components to keep you and your family safe and secure. They can alert you of an intruder and show live security camera footage while doing so; and can even detect smoke, carbon monoxide or other hazardous toxins and immediately shut off the appliance producing it.
An undetected leak could have a devastating effect on your home. Yes, one will likely increase your water usage resulting in a higher bill, but there is another, much more complicated problem associated with long-term water leaks: damage to your home and the foundation it sits on. Fixing a problem like this could require excavation of the homes foundation in order to replace footings -- not a cheap remedy.
But the addition of a water-wise leak detection system could prevent all of that. This is because a leak detection system can monitor multiple water-consuming appliances at once and turn off the unit as soon as a leak is detected. They can be used around toilets, sinks, refrigerators, water heaters and even sprinkler systems to catch the leak before the leak catches you.
Let's not forget about the most enjoyable part of being home: entertainment. Smart home technology also allows users to control their entertainment appliances (televisions, stereos or blue-ray players, for example) from their iPhone or tablet. This is not only a great way to control energy usage throughout the house, but is also a way to increase security while out of town by creating the appearance of occupancy.
Though energy consumption can be reduced by programming these appliances to operate at specific times of the day - or even by manually controlling them remotely via the internet - additional energy savings occurs thanks to the smart grid, an electrical grid designed to both send and receive information so that appliances can operate based on over-all demand at the time. For example, rather than running a dishwasher during the day -- or peak times for the cities electrical demands -- it can choose to run in the evenings when there is less demand on the grid.
The cost of a smart home upgrade depends on the components purchased. For example, the Insteon hub, which alerts users about lighting, temperature changes and water leaks, starts at just over $100, but compatible products (and wiring) come at additional cost. Depending on the scope of the smart home design, prices can get as high as a few hundred thousand dollars. Ask your contractor for details.
Smart home technology is the wave of the future, giving users more control over their environment and improving their over-all satisfaction. It is a way to improve a home's energy efficiency while reducing risks associated with safety, security and healthcare.
If you're interested in finding out what a smart home system can do for your home -- and your life -- contact your local contractor for more information. Because your home is more than a place to sleep, it is your refuge from an unpredictable world. If you show it the way, it will show you just how smart it can be.