What the ‘Internet of Things' means for energy

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Posted 22/03/2019 by E.ON

The average UK household is expected to contain as many as 50 smart devices by 2023 as the smart home trend continues to rise in popularity. From smart cities and smart grids to smart homes and smartphones, the Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting us together in more ways than ever before.

Since domestic energy makes up 28% of total energy use in the UK, paying attention to your home energy use can make a big dent in the UK's overall energy demand, our impact on the planet, as well as how many pounds and pence are left your wallet.

Let's look at how home IoT devices are making life easier and more efficient while giving the biggest value for money.

Heating and Cooling

Heating our homes and providing hot water make up 80% of final energy consumption in the domestic sector. If you want to reduce your energy costs, perhaps the first thing to look at is your boiler. By updating your boiler to a more efficient model, you can reduce energy consumption by 7.4% and save up to £305 per year. Once you have an efficient way to produce your heat, the next step is to keep it from escaping your home. For many homes cavity wall insulation is the best way to do that, since up to 35% of heat can be lost through uninsulated walls. Double glazing your windows will also help, though only 10% of heat is lost through windows.

You may be wondering, so where does the IoT fit in? By using IoT devices such as smart meters and smart thermostats, you could save more on your gas and electricity bill while cutting carbon emissions and reducing overall demand for electricity across the grid. For example, the tado° smart thermostat has clever features that use weather monitoring and geofencing to automatically adjust the temperature based on the weather outside and whether you or your family members are at home. By automating your heating and cooling, you remove the need to manually adjust your thermostat and need not worry about accidentally wasting energy if you forget to turn it down when you leave.

Lighting

Lighting accounts for 15% of an average household's electricity bill. The first step in cutting your electricity costs is switching to lightbulbs. They're more efficient than both incandescent and CFL bulbs and work with most light fixtures, including spotlights and dimmable lamps. Take it one step further by using lightbulbs and you have the ability to program, dim, and control your lights remotely via your smartphone or smart speaker, typically using a Wi-Fi connection. With smart lighting in your home, you can not only save money, but waste less energy and increase safety and convenience.

Appliances

The appliances that use the most energy include large screen TVs, fridge freezers, electric cookers, dishwashers, desktop PCs and kettles. Besides updating your appliances to energy efficient models and manually turning appliances off rather than leaving them in standby mode when not in use, using IoT devices like smart plugs and smart meters, you can take ultimate control of your energy, and make savings.

On average, UK households spend £30 a year powering appliances left in standby mode. Smart plugs transform standard appliances like TVs, ovens and kettles and into smart devices that can be remotely controlled and monitored from your smartphone or digital assistant. If you've got a smart meter, your in-home display will show you how much energy you are using in near real time and how much you're spending in pounds and pence. You can also set up alerts so you are notified if any appliances are using more energy than usual.

Now What?

There are now more internet-connected things than people on the planet. While the benefits are vast, a word of caution – your smart things are only as secure as your internet connection. Always remember to change your login credentials and passwords from the defaults and take precautions to secure your Wi-Fi. With the right protections in place, the IoT has enormous potential to make your life easier, while saving you time, money and energy.

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