Are there really benefits to having a smart home?

IMG_20160316_100326As technology continues to advance, more and more aspects of the home are becoming automated. When a home is outfitted with an array of these electronic systems, it is often referred to as a “smart” home.

In general, smart homes are equipped with a variety of devices that can detect hazards like smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, water leaks, break-ins, and more. In addition, smart home technology allows homeowners to have complete control over their homes – locking doors, managing audio equipment, dimming lights, adjusting the temperature, etc. – all through the use of smartphones.

The integrated systems of a smart home often improve safety, as the technology within can be linked to alarms and motion sensor cameras or designed to contact the proper authorities in the event of burglary, fire, or other emergency.

And, because smart homes give homeowners the ability to adjust lighting and temperature, they often create more energy-efficient spaces.

For example, I purchased a Nest thermostat before the new year. It controls my central heating and central air conditioning (I have yet to use the air conditioning, but I can’t wait until the weather is warm enough). Anyway, my HydroOttawa bill decreased by 14.4% in one month. A small sample size, but still encouraging nonetheless!

Going a bit further I compared my kWh usage averaged daily in January, February, and so far in March (as of today). These are the results:

  • January: 14.29 kWh per day
  • February: 13.73 kWh per day
  • March: 13.92 kWh per day

What is most important however, is the on-peak usage. Over three months, my daily average in On-Peak has decreased by nearly 15%. Of course the weather has something to do with it but considering the weather in February, it’s encouraging to see I used less energy than January.

While smart homes can improve security, lower energy bills, improve resale value, and add convenience, it can be expensive to retrofit older homes with smart home updates. To avoid overspending, include the cost of implementing smart home technology into a renovation or new home budget.

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