Understanding the Smart Home Saving Potential
The word ‘smart’ has undoubtedly been one of the most used words for some years now. With everything going from being ‘dumb’ to being ‘smart’, the world of technology is not really what it used to be. Everything from a simple phone to something as complex as a car is becoming smart today, marrying the concepts of green technology with the power of the internet and wireless connectivity.
Following suit, houses are also becoming smarter by the day with the use of new home technologies. Things like meters that can read a house's energy use and alert the residents of high usage, and thermostats that can alter a house’s temperature based on your habits are all geared towards making life more convenient while also cutting down on utility costs. However, it isn’t as simple as the smart technology manufacturers would have you believe. In order to begin understanding the real potential smart home technologies have for saving you money, you should take a look at some facts.
Britain’s Initiative and the Reality
The first step to start saving any money from smart home technology is to actually install it. The British government used this idea starting an initiative to install smart utility meters in all the houses across the UK. The idea was to help homeowners be more aware of their energy use and to transmit their energy usage data to the utility companies without having to do manual checking.
They quickly began to understand that the potential of saving costs with the installation of smart home technology is not as good in reality as it is on paper. There were a number of problems in installing more than 50 million meters manually, going from door to door, as well as various technology compatibility issues that the made this process less than ideal.
Another major problem with smart home gadgets is their cost. Companies have people believing that these devices will save them more money over time as compared to how much they cost to install. Looking at the numbers tells a different story though.
Smart upgrades for a whole house can cost thousands of dollars. The average savings that companies claim is somewhere around $100 per year. Most of people on a budget will not be able to dish out thousands only to save $100 every year. For that reason, smart home technology holds more interest in the eyes of those who want to help make the world a little greener. It is very hard to see the technology taking off based only on the savings.
Overlooked by the DOE
What makes the uncertainty surrounding smart home devices’ energy saving potential more pronounced is the fact that the US Department of Energy did not even mention such technology when they asked homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient recently. They mentioned tried and tested technologies like solar panels, high efficiency appliances and weatherization, but did not include smart technology in the list.
The phrase ‘smart technology’ really has taken the world by storm lately, and people seem to rave about it everywhere. But when it comes to smart home technology and its potential to save money for residents, it is still a very vague and uncertain idea that no one is really ready to bet on.