On the most recent IoT Podcast, episode, Derrick called in with a question about saving energy in a smart home. He already has a smart thermostat and he doesn’t want to spend thousands of dollars. So what options are there? Quite a few, although the payback period for some could be well off in the future.
We first suggest the least expensive option, which also happens to have a very large return on investments: connected LED bulbs. Granted, Derrick may have already swapped out his old incandescent lights with more energy-efficient LED units. Still, even a single LED bulb swap will drastically reduce energy usage on a per device basis.
Most LEDs provide a savings of over $100 over a five-year period, yet they’re inexpensive these days. You can go with non-connected LEDs for well under $5 to $7 each or opt for smart bulbs. I have Wyze bulbs that cost me an average of $7.50 each, for example. Other bulbs, particularly those with color options, are more expensive and cut into your payback period.
Another way to save energy in a smart home is to have a device that actually measures your usage patterns. For $299 plus installation, Sense will do this with a smart device that’s integrated into your electrical panel. Stacey tried Sense and was a little disappointed that it didn’t offer recommendations, but then again: At the time, her home was pretty decked out with smart devices and energy-efficient appliances.
If you’re in the same boat, the Aquanta may be a better option. Aquanta focuses solely on your hot water need. It costs $149 and you can install it yourself. The system allows you to have finer control over your hot water system and you can even train it to warm up water for specific needs, such as before shower time. The idea is that Aquanta will have your system heating water more efficiently based on when you need hot water; it can lower water temps when you don’t.
For $50, the SmartDry sensor can reduce wasted energy from a clothes dryer, which can add up to a bunch of savings over time. The small magnetic device attaches to the inside of a dryer and relays a signal to an included bridge. That allows the SmartDry to alert you when your clothes are dry, which may be prior to a full drying cycle.
Lastly, you can eliminate “vampire power” with certain electrical power strips like this one available on Amazon for $28. I have several of these because they not only provide surge protection but they can completely shut off all power when plugged-in devices aren’t in use. That small drain of power with traditional power strips is known as vampire power.
To hear Derrick’s question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: