Just a decade ago, the idea of a smart home was more of a novelty than a ‘way of life.’ Over the years, smart homes have evolved from an unfamiliar phenomenon to a booming industry that’s expected to grow to 53.45 billion by 2022. But as smart homes continue to surge in popularity, many are wondering if they can be leveraged for a higher purpose.
Climate change, brought on by the technological advances of the 20th century, is motivating a new energy revolution to prevent further damage. To win this battle, every industry across the globe must come together to meet the challenge, and the smart home industry is no exception. Fortunately, today’s smart homes are more eco-friendly and energy-efficient than ever before, and their advanced technology has the power to make a significant impact in the fight against climate change.
The evolution of smart homes and green technology
Smart homes are no longer used for just convenience and security. Today, smart homes have become sophisticated home operating systems, with advanced sensing, control, automation, integration, and analytics tools. Samsung SmartThings, a leader in IoT and smart home automation, is a comprehensive smart home ecosystem that now has over 70 million active users. The platform is the unified cloud and application for all Samsung connected products in the home, and can connect, control, and automate over 5,000 different smart devices from hundreds of manufacturers.
Although reducing energy consumption in the home isn’t new, innovative technologies have changed the game for consumers and developers. One early effort was the programmable thermostat, which gave the homeowner power to change the set point based on a schedule. While homeowners were able to lower their energy consumption while away from home, the thermostat’s capabilities were limited. Then came the smart thermostat, which made it easy to set a schedule in the app. As work schedules began to vary more with each day, geofencing via GPS replaced schedules as a more flexible way to cut energy consumption based on presence or absence in the home.
As the potential of smart technology was realized, there became an opportunity to meet new demands for conservation and cost savings by connecting to utilities to create a smarter grid. With rebates cutting the cost to homeowners, smart thermostat adoption accelerated and utilities were able to cut energy consumption broadly and during peak demand, offering innovative rate programs to lower bills for homeowners. Building off these successes, researchers wondered if there were more home savings to be found.
Embracing smart home energy management
The stage was set for the next big evolution: smart home energy management. Unlike an individual device such as a thermostat, a smart home system can connect with all the energy-consuming systems in the home that use power – opening the door to maximum energy savings. In a 2017 study of home energy management system savings by Lockheed Martin Energy, researchers found that a typical detached single-family home could reduce energy consumption by up to 16% of their baseline average by controlling HVAC, lighting, and smart outlets based on occupancy, through geofencing and occupancy (motion) sensors. In terms of climate impact, each home had the potential to reduce CO2 levels by 1 metric ton per year, and the research at the time did not include smart appliances or water heating, which could have enabled further savings. When extrapolated out to the 122 million households in the U.S., smart home energy management has the potential to eliminate the need for 27 coal-fired power plants by itself. The potential is even greater when you consider further electrification of systems in the home and accelerated adoption of rooftop solar, in-home batteries, and electric vehicles.
A new solution in smart home energy management
This summer, Samsung SmartThings is proud to usher in a new era for smart home energy management with SmartThings Energy. Leveraging the SmartThings platform, SmartThings Energy will empower consumers to view and control their energy usage and take actions that generate significant environmental savings.
Utilizing the advanced automation capabilities of SmartThings, SmartThings Energy will enable the automated reduction in energy consumption of key systems like HVAC, appliances, lighting, and anything that is plugged into a smart outlet or plug. Once connected to utility systems through the SmartThings cloud, consumers can monitor the energy usage of home appliances, discover consumption data and save energy through notifications. By offering the most comprehensive real-time energy consumption data on the market, users can addresses challenges related to major energy consuming appliances like air conditioners and home appliances, head-on.
There has never been a more important time to combat the climate crisis than today. While SmartThings Energy won’t solve the crisis alone, we know that incremental advances over time collectively amount to a giant leap forward. More than ever, we need to embrace this progress, in the hope for a brighter and more sustainable tomorrow.
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