Automate Your HVAC
Your heating and cooling can account for over 30% of your energy bills. This is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to start saving money right away. This can sometimes be as simple as changing your thermostat out for a wireless one. Many standalone Wi-Fi thermostats will connect to your network and be controllable from a smartphone app or computer. Nest has a popular Wi-Fi thermostat that will learn behaviors and try to adapt to those schedules automatically. There is a large variety of both Z-Wave and ZigBee thermostats that are capable of integrating to compatible controllers.
Automate Your Lighting
Lighting contributes to an average of 10-15% of the energy you use. There are many ways automating your lighting can save money. Setting the lights on timers or having all of them turn off when you arm your security system are a couple of easy ways to accomplish this. You can install occupancy sensors to automatically turn lights off in rooms that no one is present.
Automating lighting can be straightforward and easy to start by just changing some of those old 100-watt incandescent bulbs to a wireless LED bulb. Keep in mind that most bulbs will need a bridge or controller. Wi-Fi and Z-Wave bulbs are currently the more common protocols for bulbs in the United States.
You may consider using automated dimmer and switches for your light switches. Most of the automated homes over 15 years ago were done by using a low voltage wiring system, running dedicated communication wiring to each switch, or a Powerline technology. Since wireless has come so far, you can now easily retrofit or include automated switches within your home. This cost can add up quickly with the typical wireless switch costing anywhere from $30-70 per switch.
Automate Your Small Appliances and Electronics
Electronics and appliances can contribute an average of 25% of your energy usage. What many people do not realize is their electronics or small appliances are consuming electricity even when off. This is called “Vampire Electricity.” By having these devices plugged into an on/off relay, you will stop any vampire electricity when the device is turned off. Connecting your lamps into dimmer modules can significantly increase the life of the bulb and save energy by dimming.
Automated outlets and plug-in modules can accomplish this. Only use dimmer modules on lighting and never on an appliance or any kind of motor.
– Tyler Dirks