How smart is your home?
Written by Linda Allardyce
“Smart” is being added to the front of so many products these days, from smart bulbs to smart plugs and smart doorbells to smart doors but the key area for us to focus on is how can smart home products reduce your energy usage?
Not that long ago, smart lighting was when you could control a plug socket with a remote control. Smart lighting technology has been around for a long time, but now it’s truly becoming smart. You can now be on another continent but still be able to turn your lights on at home with a tap of your phone screen. Sounds cool, right? But how practical is that feature? How practical is smart lighting in general? Here are just a couple of examples of how smart lighting can reduce your energy bills:
The lights are on, but nobody’s home
It’s no secret that lights being on in a house act as a deterrent for criminals looking to break in. That’s why many people leave lights on when they go on holiday – but that’s such a waste of electricity as the light needs to be left on 24/7.
Smart lighting enables you to be far more clever. With the right technology, such as the Ledvance Smart+ range you can programme your lights to come on at certain times of the day. Whether you have the lounge lights on at 6pm or your en-suite light on at 11pm, it’s up to you. The ability to choose which rooms are lit up at certain times makes it a bit more believable that someone is home. If lounge lights are on at 2am three nights in a row, is that believable? Probably not. Plus you’re saving energy by only having the light on during your appointed times.
Ease of access
For people that have difficulty moving, such as the elderly, injured or disabled, turning a light on or off can be an absolute nuisance and in some cases not possible.
One experience I can provide is that I recently had surgery, so I couldn’t walk for a couple days and moving in general was incredibly painful. Getting into bed only to realise I left the bedroom light on meant I had to try and sleep with the light on all night. If I’d had smart lighting in that room, it wouldn’t have been an issue. The same applies to anyone that has mobility difficulties. Being able to control lighting without having to move is a fantastic feature and one that will save you money by reducing unnecessary usage
Getting in the mood
It’s scientifically proven that lighting can have a serious impact on a person’s mood and general wellbeing. So, being able to adjust lighting to suit conditions can improve a person’s life.
If I’m working on my laptop at home in the evening, I want good lighting. I don’t want it to be dim – I need to see what I’m doing (and stay awake!). Whereas if I’m in the lounge watching a movie, you know for a fact I’ll say “Alexa, go into movie mode”. The overhead light will turn off and the LED lighting behind my TV will turn on. Or maybe I’m having a house party and want some funky lighting. “Alexa, go into party mode”, the overhead light will go through multiple colours, my lamps will do the same and the neighbours will be complaining again.
When it comes to smart devices and energy saving, it doesn’t stop at lighting.
Smart plugs can prove to be incredibly useful when looking for ways to reduce energy bills – here’s a few ways how:
Devices being left on standby, such as TVs and sound systems, account for around £30 of a household’s annual electricity bill. In most cases, it’s easier to just turn devices off at the wall rather than purchasing a smart plug but it’s not always possible. Take a TV for example, if the plug is behind a cabinet that requires pulling out to reach the socket – you’re not going to get up every night to turn it off, are you? That’s where a smart plug comes in. By using a smart plug, you’ll be able to turn your TV or other devices off at the wall with a tap of your smartphone or your voice.
Games consoles use a significant amount of power, somewhere around £25 a year per console. Gaming is a popular daily activity amongst children and young adults, and it’s great for them to have a hobby they enjoy. But it’s equally important to sometimes limit the amount of game time, for health reasons as well as reducing energy consumption. A smart plug is a great way to create a set time that devices plugged in can draw power.
A smart plug is also great to turn off a TV remotely, which is useful if someone in the house has a habit of watching the TV to go to sleep
It can be rather frustrating to climb into bed and then remember that you’ve left all the Christmas lights on. Well, it’s not frustrating if you have a smart plug! By removing the need to physically turn the lights off, you’re more likely to turn them off thus leading to lower energy bills.
How do I make my home smart?
When bringing smart lighting and Smart Plugs into your home, you want to ensure you get it right the first time. A few things to consider when purchasing:
- Are they compatible with your devices? (Phones, Google Home, Amazon Echo etc.)
- Are they good quality LEDs? Don’t be fooled by cheap, poorly made bulbs, you’ll end up replacing them within a few months