With technology now a major force in making our lives easier and activities more efficient, it’s no surprise that tech is now creeping into our households, too; from machines that will make our coffee, to home security systems, technology is everywhere.
As winter is now truly upon us, a big issue facing households and business owners is the cost of energy bills, as lighting and heating are used more frequently in the colder, darker months. To help combat this, the team at The Electrical Guys has investigated how you can use developments in technology to reduce your energy bills. Read on to find out how you can start to make savings this winter.
To get an accurate insight into how much energy you are using, energy usage monitors help you to identify your electricity use in kilowatt hour KwH, and keeps track of the cost of this.
They work by connecting a sensor onto a power cable near your electricity meter, which reads the usage of electricity and transmits the information to a display screen.
They display your usage in real time, allowing you to have full visibility of the power you’re using, and giving you an opportunity to make changes as time progresses. As well as monitoring your electricity consumption, devices allow you to create alerts if your usage goes too high, or set energy usage targets to try and stick to. Our popular Netatmo Smart Thermostat, for example, lets you control the temperature of your home from your phone or tablet.
Once you know how much you’re spending on your energy, you’ll be able to identify how to cut back and make changes. Some energy suppliers will give you an energy monitor as part of your contract with them, but if you’re buying your own, shop around to find the monitor that best meets your needs.
Smart meters offer a range of functions that help you to reduce your energy bills. Like energy-usage monitors, they display your energy usage clearly, but they also communicate your energy usage directly to your supplier so they have the most up-to-date information on your consumption, and your bills are reflected accordingly. This also means no estimated bills, and no surprise costs you haven’t prepared or budgeted for.
Alongside using technology to monitor and control your energy usage, you can also purchase appliances that themselves have in-built technology that you can utilise to save time and money.
Although smart appliances (so far) are suitable for domestic use, these products are developing all the time, and soon will be used effectively in both commercial and domestic venues.
Some of our favourite examples are:
Smart fridge freezers. These refrigerators use technology to chill groceries better than ever before. They have rapid chill functions to lock in freshness, and use technology to have even more accurate temperature control. How does this impact your bills? Your food stays fresh for longer, reducing waste and saving you money!
Smart washing machines. Smart washing machines use technology in a number of ways that save you money on energy bills – and time too. They offer a more effective clean while running for shorter timeframes, so less energy is used to power them, and have a superior energy performance, consuming less water and electricity per wash that standard models.
Smart ovens. Smart ovens allow you to make sure your food is cooked to perfection using as little energy as possible. They also give you control over the temperature and cooking time from your phone or tablet, and some models even have in-built cameras, so you can check when your food it ready!
In recent years LED light bulbs have become increasingly popular in domestic properties and workplaces, due to their energy-efficiency. LED bulbs are estimated to use 90% less energy than incandescent and halogen bulbs, so making the switch to LEDs can have a real impact on energy bills once installed. You can find out more in our guide to LED lighting.
Adding solar panels
Although solar panels are not new technology, they are being utilised more and more due to their lower costs and government initiatives to encourage their use. They work by converting energy from the sun into electricity, which is then used to power the premises, reducing the cost of energy bills.
Solar panels work better on sunny days, and those with a south-facing roof will gain the most impact, but they still perform in winter and cloudy days. They have a higher start-up cost, but can have real long-term benefits for the businesses or households that install them.
Money and energy-saving apps
Apps are being used more and more to monitor energy usage, help with budgeting and limit spending, straight from our phones and tablets. You can now download apps that can helps you do the following:
- Manage budgets, create savings accounts, cancel unnecessary subscriptions and alert you to when you’re spending more than you planned
- Analyse your energy spend and provide suggestions for how you can reduce your usage
- Identify which appliances are using the most energy
- Increase and lower the temperature of your home from your phone or tablet
- Calculate fuel usage and subsequent carbon footprint of you and your household
- Understand the average energy spend for people in your area – especially if you’re considering moving house
As technology develops further, we look forward to seeing what other new and exciting ways it can be utilised to save us money and reduce our carbon footprints. If you need any advice about our products or services, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.