Energy saving means that we use less delivered electricity or fuel to provide the same energy services needed in our homes. But with all the modernization in today’s contemporary world, and with much of the hype being directed to rampant technology and ways of making life easier and enjoyable, the issue of energy saving has completely eluded our generation.Worrying statistics saysthat, if the current trend continues then we might not have a tomorrow to bestow our children with. This is because improper use of our energy resources is continually degrading our environment leading to global warming and its associated side effects.
However, all is not lost. Given the evident importance of saving energy to us and to our environment, researchers and engineers have come up with new technological tweaks aimed at making our homes more energy efficient, thus not only cutting down on our energy utility bills but also putting a smile to the environment that around us. Going green no longer means having to sacrifice the allure of cutting-edge technology. Some of these smart appliances include high-tech thermostats, power adapters, automated HVAC systems, tank-less water heaters, home automation lighting through the use of gadgets such as occupancy and vacancy sensors among many others. Below is a detailed guide as to some of these cool gadgets that need to earn a place in your home if your pocket warrants it.
Vacancy and Occupancy Sensors
Contrary to the popular opinion, vacancy and occupancy sensors have different meaning and so are their capabilities. An occupancy sensor is a gadget that is engineered to turn lights ON automatically upon detecting motion and OFF as soon as motion ceases whereas for a vacancy sensor, activation of lighting is manual when turning ON the lights but the gadget turns the lights OFF automatically as soon as an area is vacated.
To reap the benefits of these sensors it is best to use them together. Why is this so? Due to their ability to automatically turn the lights on in a room when they detect motion within their range, occupancy sensors can prove to be great partners for your security measures. They are valuable for exterior lighting where they provide added security. Additionally, occupancy sensors use low voltage modules that can be mounted on the ceiling or walls and can save significant amounts of energy by turning the lights off when motion in a room is not detected for a designated period of time.
Despite all the mentioned benefits, occupancy might be more of an inconvenience than a convenience when used in certain rooms. A good example of such rooms: office rooms and bedrooms. Rooms such as garages, kitchen, basements and bathrooms are great for occupancy sensors. This is due to two reasons. Firstly, occupants using these rooms are sometimes in conditions such as having their hands wet or full of things that make turning the lights on quite a daunting task. Secondly, these rooms are considered active spaces in the sense that the occupants are in constant motion which makes the turning on of the lights possible. This does not apply to office rooms where the lights will turn on upon entry but after settling down where one is almost certainly motionless, the occupancy sensors turns off the lights! I’m sure you wouldn’t want that.
Communal rooms such as bedrooms, bathrooms, TV rooms and corridors; are best served by vacancy sensors. The advantage of vacancy sensors is that if you don’t want to turn on the lights when you walk into an area, these sensors won’t do that unless you manually flick the switch. This is especially great for the bedroom scenario where you don’t want to wake up whilst asleep if someone enters, or if you make movements in your sleep then the lights will not flick on. Also for rooms such as kitchen areas, vacancy sensors might be a good idea for home owners who have pets. This is because pets are large enough to be sensed by occupancy sensors and will turn on lights unnecessarily thus leading to high energy consumption. It is also worth mentioning, that in a two storey home or larger, the stairwells should, in general, never use a vacancy sensor with a manual switch. This is because climbing the stairs should never take place in the dark, and the effort of finding the manual switch might lead to an accident. It is also a deterrent for burglars.
Some manufacturing companies provide occupancy sensors that have an option of turning them into vacancy sensors. Also, some types can be used connected to plug-in office equipment such as phones, computers and workstation lighting. Used in this manner they can serve a key role in reducing your building’s plug load. Given the controversy that ensues as to the types of rooms in which to put vacancy/occupancy sensors, it is best to leave the installation work to technicians who are well versed with knowledge on installation and effectiveness of each type of sensors. For those who are extremely handy, you can perform the installation by yourself. However, it is good to consult the product’s manual during installation as each of these products is manufacturer specific.
Automated HVAC Systems
According to Energy Star, programmable thermostats can save energy consumers about $ 180 per year in energy costs. Given the expanse of a two storey home, these gadgets can be programmed to heat or cool only when the areas are occupied. These automated systems can be set to reduce consumption based on the level of heating and cooling needed in specific areas. For instance, a guest bedroom does not need the same level of heating as the living room.
Automatic Blinds and Drapes
Automated blinds and drapes that operate according to variations in temperatures are an eco-conscious development in window treatment programs. These shades can be programmed to close during the hottest part of the day summer and to open to let in the sun during winter seasons. This works in that gadget such as AC are not overloaded in their functioning and this works in effectively reducing the energy bill.
These are devices that offer energy solutions by giving electric appliances the exact amount of power they need. If a device operates at a certain amount of power, the supply automatically cuts off after it’s been met.
In addition to using LED lights, tank-less water heaters and installing home automation to regulate energy use throughout the home, there is quite a myriad of energy efficient appliances to be found in electric appliances shop which we cannot exhaustively cover in one section. A visit to some of these shops is a worthwhile venture given the benefits you stand to reap.
It would be ideal to have both; a two storey house and also it to be energy saving. The tips set out above should be useful for owners to manage both maintaining their own two storey place, and having their bills cut by efficiently using and understanding the positive impacts that the new technologies above can bring.
Joanne Milller is a blogger, business woman and a mum of a toddler. She enjoys writing about new technologies and home improvement. She currently focuses on green technologies.