Green home at a touch
You can now intelligently manage your home electrical appliances and systems through a single interface, cutting costs and saving energy
Thinking about saving money on your energy bill? A lot of people make it a point to buy energy-efficient electrical appliances, which helps, but only in a limited way. A sure-fire way to full energy efficiency is to install an intelligent control system programmed to optimise energy efficiencies of appliances and all aspects of a home.
In commercial premises, they are called building management systems and in homes, home automation systems; however, they are seen as luxury items rather than energy conservation tools.
As home automation is ‘hi-tech', it has the potential to be far more profitable than standard electrical wiring for a house. Home automation boosts energy conservation, and therefore energy cost savings, by intelligently and continuously managing the services in the home.
The climate within can be efficiently maintained through constant temperature monitoring and controls that can intelligently activate ceiling fans, activate and deactivate air-conditioned zones or rooms depending on room occupancy, open and close blinds and windows to control heat gain and loss through windows, activate fans to extract moisture from bathrooms and laundries, all by a single programming on a touchpad.
Ordinarily, ‘climate control' is a manual task — occupants make a conscious effort to switch on/off appliances to suit their comfort levels.
Today's appliances are generally energy efficient, but it's often we — the occupants — who are not, frequently leaving doors and windows open or heating and cooling unoccupied rooms for long periods of time; an automated climate control systemdoes everything without your help.
Lighting roughly consumes 20-25 per cent of the total electricity in homes, so this is an area where automation can help significantly.
Studies show that dimming a light by just 10 per cent can save 10 per cent of electricity and double the life of the bulb. Using high-efficiency lighting is only a partial solution to reduce energy consumption; by intelligently controlling lighting with a home automation system, the benefits of energy-efficient lamps will be enhanced.
For example, you can dim and control home lighting by schedule, motion detection, door openings, sunrise, sunset alarm activation, and more.
Most home automation systems can integrate water storage and reticulation systems to ensure optimal operation.
Multiple storage tanks can be managed and utilided for a variety of applications, such as irrigation, grey water management, swimming pool top-ups and so forth.
There's no reason why the homeowner needs to consciously go out and water his garden at 6 am just because it's the time of least evaporation.
In fact, he doesn't even need to be home. The home automation system can be programmed to water the garden at the optimum times, while sensors monitor the ambient conditions such as soil moisture, wind, temperature and rain to ensure efficient and effective garden management.
Smart meters are now becoming more commonplace, both externally for utilities to manage household loads and internally for homeowners to monitor consumption. They help manage energy systems and cut off non-essential circuits during high tariff periods.
These are integrated with home automation systems to yield considerable savings, while maintaining comfort and functionality.
For example, all devices can be connected to this system and can work simultaneously: when fans are switched on in the hall, the airconditioner in the room starts automatically and the television is switched on.
Home automation technology has come a long way from modest beginnings to the sophisticated and energy-savvy intelligent systems of today. Rapid technological advancements have facilitated the development of fully integrated intelligent control systems that automate numerous household functions using a single interface.
(In Chennai, Eloka in Adyar with HAI, a leader in promoting home energy, offer comprehensive home energy management solutions.)
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