Making a Sustainable Smart Home: What You Need to Know

In a “smart home,” certain features are automated or remotely controlled. Sometimes, this means that smart aspects of your house are built directly into the structure. More commonly, third-party devices allow homeowners to control various components of the home — fixtures, utilities, security systems, and more — with simple gestures, voice commands, or artificial intelligence.

A woman controls her sustainable home using a smart device.
A sustainable smart home controlled using a third party device.

Unlike a traditional home, smart homes allow residents to automate tasks that they would normally perform themselves. Whether this means controlling the lights, arming an in-home security system, turning on the television, or even scheduling calendar events with only your voice, smart homes allow you to do more in less time.

Australia has quickly acclimated to this market. Over the next four years, product-based smart home revenue is expected to maintain an 11.57% growth rate — good for $2.53 million in total revenue by the end of this year alone. While it’s a fraction of the $28.86 million in yearly smart home revenue generated in the United States, these figures still represent a definitive step toward increased smart home popularity across Australia.

Smart Home Benefits

Smart home usage allows consumers to enjoy a wide variety of associated benefits. Many of the most popular home improvements are made better through smart home integration, where residents enjoy increased home value and the convenience of automated home temperatures, lighting, security, and outlets.

In addition, smart homes help minimise your environmental impact, offering energy-saving benefits that help you improve fuel efficiency and promote sustainability. Whether it’s your smart thermostat, smart lighting system, smart outlet, or any other smart home device, each smart appliance represents a step toward personal energy independence.

Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats work by regulating your home’s internal climate, according to an ideal standard that you set. It automates your home’s heating and cooling functions to constantly keep your residence at a temperature you enjoy. Homeowners can also remotely control both air conditioning and heating through an easy-to-use mobile application, to manually set conditions whenever you want.

Home sustainability also benefits from smart thermostat installation. Automating your home’s temperatures means less wasted energy excessively heating or cooling a house. You’ll be able to set and maintain your home’s exact climate, without activating your air conditioning or heating until the temperature is beyond your liking.

A smart appliance. A smart appliance.
A smart thermostat controls the room temperature. Smart thermostat control.

Smart Power Strips & Outlets

Both smart power strips and smart outlets can help you regulate and optimise the energy used from many of your home appliances and fixtures. Similar in appearance to a traditional power strip, a smart power strip is designed to individually control the power sent to each outlet on the strip itself, to maximise energy savings. Often, they operate with three individual outlet types — always-on, main, and secondary outlets — to help foster a sustainable space.

Smart outlets offer an extra level of automation when traditional, electricity-based devices are plugged in. Some feature automatic shut-off functions to prevent excessive or inactive use, or function on a timer you can set and control remotely, furthering your home’s contributions to environmental sustainability.

Smart Light System

While not typically as simple as a smart outlet or power strip use, smart lighting systems have the potential to save massive amounts of energy daily. They consist of several distinct systems — potentially including switches, light dimmers, smart bulbs, and even the aforementioned smart outlets — to help reduce your home’s energy consumption to an appropriate minimum.

In tandem with some of the best systems on the market, LED light bulbs offer their own environmental benefits. Improved heat emission safety, increased energy efficiency, and doubled life spans over traditional light bulbs make LED bulbs a sustainable lighting option, even before you consider their dimming capabilities.

Smart Solar Panels

Perhaps the most popular feature of any eco-friendly home, solar panels help reduce overall power consumption while eliminating many of the negative effects of traditional energy production from your environmental footprint. The best solar panels partner well with existing smart home features, adding an environmental focus to your home’s energy consumption.

By converting sunlight into electricity, solar panels help power the smart devices working hard to optimise your home’s energy output. Panel size can be tailored to accommodate your budget, electrical use, and roof space, no matter your energy usage threshold.

Smart Water System

A more unique application to smart home technology, smart water systems include hardware, software, and automation that help residents gather data on water usage. Unlike other smart home devices, smart water systems do not usually optimise energy as it is used. Rather, they allow residents to analyse usage and identify opportunities for water and energy conservation.

Together, the components of a smart water system help homeowners take steps toward improving sustainability. Sometimes, this means implementing a smart system that can identify leaks or the beginning signs of water damage before they present more serious concerns. In less serious applications, smart water systems can help consumers forecast water bills, lower overall water utility use, and identify places in the home that can benefit most from real-time water use data.

Smart Appliances

The above smart home options represent some of the most popular smart devices to promote sustainability in the home. However, they are far from the only smart appliances on the market. Any appliance can be made “smart” with an active connection to a smartphone, tablet, or computer, as long as it fulfils some sort of automated feature.

A smart home device controls the front door lock and house security.
A smart home device controls the front door lock.

Smart appliances can yield an immediately positive impact on a homeowner’s sustainability. Smart washing machines can reduce overall water and energy usage rates, and will even notify you when your laundry load is done. Smart refrigerators can allow residents to examine the content inside without ever opening the door. Smart microwaves employ sensor cooking, to identify and appropriately heat your food while lowering total energy use.

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