We are living in an age where reality is starting to catch up to the futuristic dreams of generations that lived before us. Smart phones, self-driving cars and motion-controlled video games were dreams just a decade ago.
Hover cars or talking robot butlers aren’t available yet, but we are progressing to the next evolution in housing design – the smart home. In addition to improving our quality of life, a smart home will provide energy savings and be kinder on the environment.
This article will look at the current developments in smart home design, and some of the features that may soon be commonplace in homes around the world. Most of the devices listed here can be installed in your home today at a small outlay, and provide immediate benefits.
Power Saving Features
Saving money on energy costs has become a hot topic recently, with home owners feeling the pinch of colder winters and economic recession. Heating and controlling temperature is one of the main costs involved in maintaining a house.
Smart meters replace existing electricity and gas meters, and work with a smart monitor device which is placed in a visible part of the home. The monitor displays current power usage of the home, and can display data on an hourly, weekly and monthly basis. This simple addition to the home can make an important difference to energy usage, with a visual reminder of how much power is being used at any time. Homes with renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, can also have the power amount displayed on the monitor. The smart meter will calculate the amount due in real money terms, instead of being presented with an estimated power bill, with the difference estimated to be around 100 pounds a year for the average home.
Remote Heating Control
With a small hardware upgrade to the existing heating system, the temperature of the home can be controlled from anywhere. This can be done using a smart phone app, by accessing a PC or by sending an SMS. The remote heating control system can tell what the temperature is inside and outside the home, and adjust the heating system according to your directions. This simple and smart upgrade can have a considerable effect on heating costs, and also improve the owners’ quality of life.
Imagine getting delayed on a trip somewhere and being able to shut down the heating system to save money. Then, before arriving home you can turn on the boiler with a few taps of your finger and return to a warm welcome. Further benefits include being able to set up a heating schedule and temperature alerts with frost protection.
Renewable Energy Features
Renewable or sustainable energy has been growing in popularity over the last few years, with many home-owners discovering the benefits of solar hot water systems. By installing a solar thermal panel system – solar panels fitted to the roof of the home, a special hot water tank and heat transfer unit – you could generate up to 60% of your hot water using the power of the sun.
You could transform your house into a futuristic smart home with the addition of the devices listed in this article. For a small upfront outlay, you could soon be monitoring your homes energy usage, controlling the heating from afar, and generating your own hot water using the natural energy of the sun.
David Howells is a freelance writer who covers topics on sustainability and green energy. Image source