Eco Homes – The Smart Home Revolution – saving you money and energy

oliver General, Technology/ Energy Saving


New research by British Gas tells us that we are being needlesaly wasteful with our heating and electrical controls – wasting on average £150 by simply leaving the boiler running when were not at home and £35 per household on items left charging or on standby. Whilst smart meters are set to be rolled out across the UK over the next few years, shedding some light on our energy use, technology is at hand to do just that, right now.  And as you may know i love technology, especially when it save me money and energy!

Were noticing a sharp rise in remote control and smart systems that react to your requests or learn the way you live to make your home work more efficiently for you. Not surprisingly the all essential smart phones are beginning to play a key role in changing the way we run our homes.

British Gas has recently created an app for your phone which now allows for you to turn on and off your central heating system any time, anywhere. It all works around a hub-based wireless platform, which allows for you to connect your smart phone to your boiler and digital thermostat (which is kindly provided) all via the internet. If you haven’t got a smart phone that doesn’t matter, the app can be controlled via a PC or even a simple text message, allowing for you to be in control no matter where you are.

The Energy Saving Trust states that you can save money by using your controls more effectively. Turning down your thermostat by just one degree can save you around £55 a year! Various products already exist which allow for you to clearly see the energy usage while you’re home, Efergy are just one example and have a great range of products readily available. However these won’t save you money as a standalone product, but the technology is advancing and will help you to bring those bills down.

A great product is the thermostat by Nest, unfortunately it’s only available in America at the moment but fingers crossed it will come to the UK soon. According to Nest, thermostats control half of your energy bill! When used in the same way as your old thermostat, the Nest will program itself, learning and remembering every time you change the setting so that it will adjust to your requirements automatically, helping you to save money. The thermostat also has the function to be controlled by your Smartphone so while you are away you are able to control the settings and temperature of your home. By teaching it well, the nest can save up to 20% on your heating bills!

Honeywell have a similar system, this time controlling your lighting and security systems. Once again by downloading an app to your Smart Phone you can control your home lighting either to ensure you don’t return home to darkness or to make it appear as if someone is home while you are away. You can also incorporate a home security system into the same process.

Sticking with lighting, GreenWave Reality have just launched a WiFi enabled LED lighting system which allows for the user to control their lights (individually) through either a remote control or via a smart phone. The bonus fact about this system is that it is ready to use straight away, with no need for the electrician to come and rewire your home. Quick, easy and ready to go, simple!


For something a little more luxurious why not try Lutron. The Homeworks QS system from Lutron allows for you to have total control via a single remote control, as well of course via your smart phone, of all of your lighting, heating and electrical products such as Televisions and music stations, and even those automated blinds. . .

Also, how about an iRobot fully automated ‘hover’, which actively responds to the state of the surrounding environment, allowing for it to make ‘intelligent cleaning decisions’? just think, no more hovering!

Although a little extravagant to some of us, this seems to be the way we are heading, controlling everything via a single remote control or our smart phones. It can make our lives easier and can reduce those pesky energy bills.