Home Power Saving and Automation Trends- Now and the Future

Energy management and other power saving technologies are becoming more popular with consumers as we all look to save money and consider the environment 2011 is the first year we have seen a real boom in this industry. As technologies and manufacturers improve their products, we are seeing cost effective solutions for individual families, although some areas are still lagging behind.

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Photo: Tekneco

Only the most progressive electrical services professionals should be employed when installing these new devices and technologies. Here is a look at some of the areas of automation and power saving technologies currently available for homes.

  • Lighting. Lighting management systems can save you a bundle. Even if you cannot afford a full blown lighting control system, you can still install other simpler switches and timers. Dimming your lights by 15% will barely be noticeable but will save you by 15%.
  • Phantom Load Shedding. Using power that you do not see, such as when your devices are plugged into a socket when they are turned off, could be costing you a good portion of your electricity bills. Smart surge strips or load control modules, can be used to cut of power to appliances that are not being used. Reducing the phantom load on the average home could be saving you up to 20%
  • Home Control System. These home automation systems automatically shuts things off when you are not there, and can be preset to do a number of functions. This is a complete home and power management system, normally operated by a computer and software. More than just having some very cool functions, it can add that high-end feel to your home.
  • Motorized Windows. Although there is a considerable investment, these devices can capture sun when it is needed, and block it out when not. Automated sun harvesting is becoming more popular in commercial properties because of the large number of windows, and therefore, the technology is filtering down to the home level.
  • Smart Appliances. We are still waiting for these products to arrive, although the more modern your appliances are, the less power they will use. Modern appliances that are truly smart will regulate the amount of power they use and will also regulate the time they use it.
  • Car Chargers. Electric cars are coming, and this is going to mean you will need to charge your car at home. Chargers that can get the most out of your home’s electrical system, and charge your car for the least amount of money, are what we need.

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Photo: DDOTDC

Expect the utility companies to have a range of power rates each day. Currently, we normally only see peak and off-peak times, but in the future there will be many variations in one day, which may change depending on the number of simultaneous users. As these systems develop, we will need homes and products that can adapt to these changes.

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