The simple device that could catapult your home into the future
Today you turn off the lights and turn down the thermostat, tomorrow your home will do it for you
In Britain, homes are responsible for 25 per cent of the nation’s Co2 emissions, and while it’s a combination of many changes that will help us achieve net zero by 2050, slashing that percentage is a big step toward that goal. The smart, connected home has many tools to help us do this, but the potential to intelligently run itself and save even more energy is the most exciting possibility, one that will transform it into the smarter home.
The first step toward creating this more energy-efficient home is to request a smart meter from your energy supplier. Electricity and gas usage equate to around one quarter of all carbon emissions from a typical home, and this no-additional-cost device allows you to see the energy your home is using in near-real time. This, combined with more intelligent, efficient tech enabled by smart meters, is the key to unlocking the way we use energy in our homes.
Once you can see the energy use, thanks to an in-home display that shows consumption in pounds and pence, you can then make changes to reduce it and save money. You can do simple things such as turn the thermostat down a bit, turn off some lights, run one less load of laundry. Currently, responding to this information can help save 5 to 15 per cent of your energy consumption (typically equivalent to £50 a year). But if this sounds like a bit too much work, there’s more good news around the corner. With the right home automation equipment installed, and with the energy data from your smart meter, your home’s energy systems could soon be able to do some of this for you, automatically. Letting you save both time and money, while helping the nation achieve its quest for net zero.
Today, smart appliances and smart heating systems can intelligently control the way we use energy in our homes. Smart appliances could soon take advantage of time-of-use tariffs enabled by smart meters to run automatically when energy is cheaper and greener, and smart thermostats can use motion sensors to know when you’re out and adjust accordingly, then communicate with your smartphone to know when you’re coming back. But tomorrow, they will be able to do so much more.
Time to look forward
In the near future, those smart appliances and that smart heating system – and any other connected equipment you have, such as electric vehicles and energy storage systems – could all talk to each other, aided by your smart meter and new technologies like a Consumer Access Device (CAD).
And, once your smart meter is connected to the intelligent tech in your house, this lays the groundwork for a future interactive smart home. While innovations like CAD technology are still in their early stages, they are part of a wide range of ways we will soon be able to realise the potential of smart meters. The connected appliances in our smart homes and home automation systems will be able to securely tap into the near-real time data from smart meters and respond instantly to save even more energy.
New technology and services will be able to use this data to manage connected appliances in the home (such as running them when energy is cheap), and even access online services to increase the efficiency and cost effectiveness of how your connected appliances heat and light your home. For example, they could access weather information and calendar data to help appliances determine when they will be needed.
Home is where the smart is
The possibilities for the future smart home – when powered by the near-real time data that smart meters, along with new technology and services, can provide – are exciting. Innovations around the efficiency and smart functionality of energy systems in our home, such as heating and hot water, could be a reality in the near-future. Then will come the real potential to develop a home automation system that – using artificial intelligence – can learn your habits and energy use over time and intelligently balance those needs with times when demand is lowest, and energy is cleanest.
This will mean that your smart, connected home will be able to make small, yet significant adjustments to save energy in ways you won’t even notice, but which cumulatively have a significant impact. Ultimately, this will make your home so much more attuned to your own everyday needs.
Join the quiet revolution
Sometimes, the numbers speak for themselves. Here are some important stats you need to know about smart meters.
If every UK household took action on energy efficiency now, we could save up to 54 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
We could achieve 11% of the UK’s 2050 carbon emissions target by taking household energy efficiency measures.
64% of people with smart meters feel more in control of the energy they use at home.
Britain could save a total of £5.6bn on energy bills in the next 20 years.