LED bulbs and solar panels have reduced wastage and consumption of electricity. There are smart devices available in the market that help conserve the energy further and reduce electricity bills. Remote control of smart home devices adds another factor to the conservation of energy. Let us look at some such smart devices available in the market that can make a real difference to the planet and to your wallet.
There are many solar devices that can help save electricity bills, such as solar heaters, solar electric kettles, solar power fridge kits, solar backpacks with built-in mobile charging, solar battery packs and chargers, solar-powered sound systems and so on.
These devices help manage the heating and cooling of a system efficiently, resulting in lower utility bills. These maintain a perfect temperature range as per requirements.
There are many such thermostats available in the market, including ecobee smart Wi-Fi thermostat, Allure EverSense Wi-Fi smart thermostat and LockState Wi-Fi-programmable three-stage thermostat.
Nest Learning thermostat learns how you like the climate in your home and auto-schedules changes throughout the day. Once it figures out your preferences, it automatically turns down the heat at night and wakes up before the family. It also tracks where you are in your home and utilises this information to adjust air-conditioning and heating accordingly. It costs around ₹ 38,500 on Amazon.
Many people have never measured the amount of water they use. Now one can do so with smart showers. These showerheads often come with a hydraulic-powered LED screen to monitor the amount of water that you have used.
One interesting example is Hydrao smart shower, which measures water consumption through an app. You can compare your usage with others in the house via the mobile app. At ₹ 7000, it should not take too long for Hydrao to pay for itself.
No batteries are needed as Hydrao is hydro-powered. It even tells you about the current temperature of the water, so you do not waste too much water waiting for it to heat up. Thus, it automatically cuts down electricity and water bills.
There are other water heads available in the market, such as from WaterHawk and Evolve.
Efforts for conservation of water should not be confined to indoors. For watering your lawn, you could try a smart watering controller, which connects to weather data via cloud and adjusts the sprinkling schedule. Consequently, the sprinkler does not water if it is raining or is about to. It can be controlled via smart home platforms. You only need to select your watering patterns based on vegetation and yard size and then let the device do its work.
Blossom smart watering controller costs ₹ 6300 for seven zones and ₹ 13,000 for 12 zones. For larger yards, Rachio smart sprinkler controller connects up to 16 sprinkler zones.
Tips for water conservation
Avoid the use of rinse hold setting on your dishwasher as this uses 11 to 26 litres of hot water per wash. Choose aerators with a flow rate of no more than 3.8 litres per minute for your faucets, for maximum savings. Turn off the water heater when you leave the home as most models reheat the water to the set temperature in about an hour.
These devices monitor and control appliances and lightings. Examples include Wiser Home Control, control4, Ted 5000, Onzo, Energy Hub, WeMo Insight Switch and Wink Hub. These let you schedule bulbs to turn on, off or dim throughout the day.
This helps you monitor and control the consumption of electric energy by different appliances via your smartphone. This also helps you to track the money saved, once you start using it.
Energy monitors can be of three types:
Timers and motion switches
These are used on light plugs or electrical outlets to control the amount of time electricity is running, for plugged-in devices or for lights that are switched on. These either have a dial to set the range of minutes or the range of preset times. These energy-saving devices have great use for bathroom fans, which you may want to run for some time after you leave the bathroom, but which you do not want to run all day.
Motion-activated light switches sense movement or your body heat when you enter a room, and turn the power on when you pass the sensor. After the movement or heat is no longer detected, it is turned off.
These are used to prevent two or more large appliances, such as the air-conditioner and water heater, from running simultaneously.
These devices sense total electric demand within a home. These switch off electrical appliances in a predetermined sequence when programmed demand level is exceeded. The devices switch on electrical appliances in a predetermined sequence when demand is below the programmed level.
Smart power strips
These are smart power strips that sense used electric power. On sensing that the computer has been turned off, these automatically shut off the peripherals too, including printers, speakers and backup drives.
Some come with colour-coded outlets, including outlets for control, always-on outlets and automatically-switched outlets. When a device plugged into the control outlet (blue) is switched on, it powers up the automatically-switched outlets. When you power down a device, the smart strip automatically shuts down the power to the device’s peripherals at switched outlets. When it begins to flow through the control outlet, power is restored to the switched outlets. This means the devices you are not using are not costing you any money. These are easily available in online and offline stores.
If you plug your TV in the control outlet and other accessories in switched outlets, the smart strip controls the accessories based on what the TV is doing. You can use the always-on outlets to connect devices that might need power even when the TV is off.
Tips for electricity conservation
Given below are a few tips for the conservation of electricity:
• Unplug battery chargers when not in use, or when batteries are fully-charged.
• Keep heat sources like lamps and TVs away from the air-conditioner thermostat, as this may cause it to run longer.
• Regularly defrost your freezer, as frost buildup increases the amount of energy needed to keep the refrigerator at its proper temperature.
• Look for a dishwasher with air power or overnight dry setting, because it turns off the dishwasher after the rinse cycle.
• Use light-activated switches for outdoor lights.
Little waste may amount to big losses and little savings can lead to huge gains. So let us practice the use of Energy-Star-approved appliances to give a better life to our future generation.