Smart objects: how to use them to reduce energy consumption
The trend of using so-called smart objects in the home continues to grow and the reasons behind this success can largely be attributed to the desire of families to combat high energy costs, especially increases in prices of gas and electricity, by exploiting the ‘intelligent potential’ they offer.
Considering that many of the recent upgrades these devices have undergone involve commonly used electrical appliances, more and more people have decided to try to reduce monthly expenditure by replacing energy hungry appliances in the home, such as washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers.
Smart appliances: why they make sense
Recent studies have shown that between 55 and 60% of the average family’s energy consumption can be attributed to the use of electrical appliances. Top of the list is the refrigerator, which alone accounts for 25% of costs, followed by the washing machine (8%) and dishwasher (5%), if they are in class A. Those in lower energy efficiency categories consume even more energy.
However, if the appliances selected for the home consist of smart objects, they provide tangible advantages, especially when it comes to managing the operating cycle. In the case of washing machines and dishwashers, one example could be the option to programme them (also remotely) to run at a time of day or night when energy costs are lower.
Specific applications designed for use with these appliances are also able to monitor their correct functioning and daily water consumption, thereby avoiding wastage. These apps offer valuable support, providing not only flexibility of use but also significant savings at the end of the month.
If we turn our attention to the most energy hungry devices on the list, the advantages are even greater as latest generation smart refrigerators are equipped with numerous functions which on one hand reduce consumption to a minimum and on the other improve the user experience. They may, for example, allow:
- separate control of temperature levels in the various compartments, providing more efficient food storage;
- the use of a camera to view inside the appliance remotely, avoiding the need to open the door and alter internal temperatures;
- automatic provision of a shopping list, which can be directly connected to e-commerce platforms, tracking items purchased as well as those which have run out.
- the option to use an ‘eco’ setting to maximise energy savings;
- the use of vocal commands via a voice assistant or smartphone app.
The combination of these innovative solutions ensures real practical benefits for the family in the short term and, in the mid to long term, significant energy savings.
Smart objects for air conditioning and heating
Another sizeable proportion of energy consumption is due to domestic air conditioning and heating. As mentioned above, research has shown that an air conditioning system alone when set on cooling, accounts for at least 21% of annual domestic energy consumption.
As well as choosing appliances in a high energy efficiency class, another way to limit costs is to use a smart thermostat. Among the various smart objects available on the market, this device is probably the most incisive when it comes to cutting costs.
Its main function is to regulate the temperature in the domestic environment as required, by setting the heating and if possible, also the air conditioning system to the recommended optimal levels for the time of year.
Thanks to an interface which can also be accessed via smartphone, the user is able to choose their own preferred temperature range, as well as programming the times when the systems will be switched on and off.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith