Why being eco-friendly at home has never been easier
PUBLISHED: 16:19 02 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:19 02 February 2016
Joel Babitta D-Max Photography
Going green doesn't mean knitting your own yoghurt - it can also be gloriously high-tech and aesthetically pleasing
Being eco-friendly has never been easier - and we have never been more enthusiastic about it - especially if it means cutting those ever-growing energy bills. And whether its smartphone connected thermostats or the latest in renewable energy, technology is fast catching up to our energy saving needs.
“As well as enhancing our living environment, technology and ‘home automation’ – lighting and heating control in particular - can really help save energy and reduce your bills,” explains Karen Chugg, director of home automation company Intelligent Abodes (intelligentabodes.co.uk). “Simply put, the technology allows you to use electricity more intelligently to fit in with your particular needs and avoid over consumption. Here are some of my favourite tips for helping to make your home more energy efficient.”
Some like it hot
The new range of heat thermostats are great for saving energy. Wi-fi thermostats such as Nest (nest.com) and Heatmiser (heatmisershop.co.uk) respond intuitively to your temperature requirements avoiding waste and allowing you to manage temperature more effectively whether you are there or away. Nest’s ‘Auto Away’ feature can even detect when no one is home and automatically turn down the temperature, helping to save more energy. You can also programme it remotely, making sure your home is toasty by the time you get home from work. If you are really money conscious, it can give you reports on how much energy you’re using and even suggest ways to help you increase savings.
Good insultation is something we all know helps warm our homes and keep down the cost of doing it. Windows lose a lot of heat - so consider automated blinds that can help you manage the temperature in the home – not only keeping the heat in during the colder months but also keeping the space cool in the summer. Some ranges, for example, by Lutron (lutron.com) are made from specialist fabrics designed to support temperature control - and can save 10-30% on heating and cooling costs.
Not so dim
It’s no longer just a matter of switching your bulbs to low energy ones or remembering to turn off lights when you leave a room. Enter the new generation of dimmers. Lighting control solutions such as Lutron, Vantage and Control 4 offer ‘scene setting’ lighting options that suit the activity - whether entertaining, working, relaxing, or cooking. Selecting a particular setting makes you more conscious about the lighting you are using. Every electronic dimmer will automatically save you 4-9% in electricity even when used at the highest setting! Dimming your lights by 25% can save you 20% in energy costs! And you can dim all types of lights including low energy sources such as LED lighting – so that gives you double savings.
And when you’re out
It’s all too easy to leave a room, or the house, with the lights left on, particularly if there are a number of you who share the space. And there are often some family members who are less conscious of the bills than others! Try sharing your home with wireless occupancy sensors. Simple to install, they detect when a room is unused, and turn off lights when spaces are vacant. Sensors can also automatically dim lights when enough daylight is present or interact with automated window shades to ensure the right amount of light is always present. This can be set up in a single room or an entire building. Home control solutions, such as Rti, Vantage or Control 4, also allow you to automatically turn on appliances such as dishwashers, at the most energy efficient times. Their Remote Access Control means you can turn off all your lights wherever you are, from your mobile phone or tablet. These sort of systems will also offer an energy management option to allow you to monitor energy consumption and suggest options to further reduce consumption. Happy savings!