Tips, Tricks and Tools to Start Managing Your Home Energy Use

[Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of blog posts about smart home energy management from our partners at Alarm.com, makers of the Connected Home platform. In the coming months, their experts will examine the features and benefits of energy management in the connected home. This month, Jay Kenny explores some ways that you can employ technology in the quest to reduce your energy bills.]

In our first article, we highlighted the importance of energy management as part of the larger Connected Home technology platform. Eliminating efficiencies in the way that you use energy ultimately increases the impact that your solar production has on your overall energy footprint.

For our next step, let’s take a deeper look into how technology can provide you the information and tools to comprehensively identify energy waste and take effective, immediate steps to address it.

 

Track and Target Waste

Looking at your monthly home energy bill, it’s difficult to know exactly where costs are coming from and how you can start lowering them. While smart thermostats and appliance modules help reduce the amount of energy used in the home, they aren’t the whole story. You might be surprised to learn how much power appliances like televisions, refrigerators, and washing machines use every day — sometimes even when they’re turned off.

New wireless monitoring devices let you track and analyze every appliance in your home. Once you know which devices are inflating your monthly bill, automation can help manage those appliances around your daily routine. That way they’re on when you need them, and off when you don’t.

Take this example: One of my colleagues put a light control module on a motion-sensitive, outdoor flood light used for nighttime security around her home. By monitoring this specific light she discovered that it was being triggered unnecessarily during daylight hours and wasting energy. She created a schedule for that specific light so that it would operate only during nighttime hours, and she saved between 25 and 50 cents worth of energy every day. That can really add up to both energy bill costs and environmental impact.

 

Set Goals

Monitoring and automating devices also lets you measure your progress towards energy saving goals. Smart tools help you set achievable goals for the month and allow you to track actual consumption against them. If you fall behind, you can fine tune automations and schedules on every device in your home to get back on track.

Learning the home’s occupancy and power usage patterns is the basis for highly personalized estimates around energy consumption and savings, as well as for creating smart schedules for automation. These patterns also ensure that every automation is optimized to be as efficient as possible. For example, thermostat data can tell us how long your home takes to heat up or cool down. Taking this into account allows the energy management service to optimize the thermostat around your personal schedule.

 

Actionable Data

Knowing how the different devices and appliances in your home consume power also helps you make informed decisions about additional investments you’re considering to further enhance your home’s energy efficiency. For example, the thermodynamic modeling that calculates the time and energy needed to heat and cool your house can also help guide you in determining whether new windows or improved insulation would significantly improve your home’s overall efficiency. In an age of overwhelming information, sometimes it’s the little data within your home that can make the biggest impact.

 

Solar

Obviously solar holds great promise to significantly reduce monthly costs and accomplish energy independence. With Alarm.com and One Block Off the Grid, you can learn about options for incorporating solar energy into your home, and, once installed, monitor how much you solar production contributes to your goals. Integrating this information with Green Button data, as well as whole home as well as device level energy use information, will give you the complete picture about your home’s energy footprint.

Jay Kenny is the VP of Marketing for Alarm.com, the makers of the Connected Home platform and advanced energy management services.

Alarm.com has well over 1 million homes subscribed to our Connected Home platform, and we have seen growing consumer interest across all the entire range energy management capabilities in the Connected Home. This includes core energy management capabilities like smart thermostats, lighting control and schedule optimization, as well as the more comprehensive energy features for monitoring appliance and whole home consumption, integrating green button data, connecting to the smart grid, and leveraging cleaner energy sources like solar power. With the Connected Home consumers can create a personalized energy management plan that’s easy to implement and that fits their goals; whether it’s saving money or the planet.

 

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