You don’t have to own a new home to take advantage of smart home technology. Whether you’re buying a new build or closing on a resale, there are plenty of ways to incorporate energy-saving devices and apps into your everyday life that will help lower your monthly electricity bill.
Swapping incandescent bulbs with LEDs is one of the quickest and easiest ways to lower your energy demands. Want to take it a step further? Consider connected lighting. In addition to enjoying the warm, bright light offered by new LED bulbs, smart lighting enables users to control brightness, timers, and sometimes color, all from a phone or tablet. While the cost of entry for these brainy bulbs is higher than traditional lighting, they use less energy and last much longer, meaning you will recoup your cost in the long run.
Many top appliance manufacturers have joined the smart home movement, ultimately simplifying homeowners’ daily to-do lists and lowering energy consumption. From washers and dryers to refrigerators and dishwashers, consumers have an endless array of innovative appliances from which to choose. If you’re operating on a budget, you’ll need to be selective about which smart appliances to invest in first. Our advice? Consider the ones that tend to consume the most electricity—HVAC, clothes dryers, water heaters, refrigerators, and electric cooktops.
There’s no reason to blast the AC when you’re not at home. That’s where a smart thermostat comes in handy. According to a study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, users of smart home technology for thermostat control saved anywhere from 10 to 30 percent on energy bills. As a bonus, these savvy devices are often able to program themselves, automatically adjusting temperatures based on day-to-day schedules.
Window shades, smart or not, make a big difference in regulating the temperature of your home. If you want to up the convenience factor, consider an automated option. There are several brands on the market, offering many sizes, styles, and colors that can be controlled by voice command, phone, or remote. Some premium versions even allow users to program preferences and respond to temperature spikes.
Even when your electronics aren’t turned on, as long as they’re plugged in, they’re probably consuming power. The effect, often referred to as vampire draw or phantom load, costs the average home an extra $200 per year. To help reduce wasted energy, companies are offering timer-equipped power strips and smart plugs that are able to scan a room for activity and turn off outlets accordingly.