As our energy bills are on the rise, now more than ever, we are looking for ways to reduce our energy consumption. Smart home devices don’t just make your day-to-day activities easier and more convenient while helping you stay connected - they also help you to conserve energy and can ultimately help you save money when they are used correctly.
With smart home devices you can have advanced control over your energy consumption, while at the same time automating your home by installing water and home heating devices, smart plugs, smart switches to turn on and off lights and smart light bulbs to give you a more energy efficient Smart Home.
Did you know? According to the CSO, in 2021 15% of Irish homeowners had connected home energy systems including smart thermostats, smart plugs, or smart lights.
Saving money using smart home devices
Smart home devices, when installed correctly, can perform a range of activities to make your home more comfortable and help you save money through energy monitoring in the long run. Smart home devices are easy to set up and can be controlled from your smartphone, at any time of day and from anywhere (provided you have internet connection!). Here are a couple of examples of the types of smart home devices that can help you save energy and money:
We don’t tend to think much about heating during the summer months but as soon as Autumn arrives and we feel the chill in the air, we find ourselves turning the heating up a notch or two. A smart thermostat allows you to optimise your home by scheduling your heating usage and helping you to change your energy consumption habits. Smart thermostats automatically adapt to your home size and the amount of time needed to heat your home environment based on your daily habits.
The best smart thermostats keep your home at the right temperature regardless of the weather outside. Lastly, while a smart thermostat won't cause a sudden drop in your heating bills, it will help you to avoid heating an empty house or leaving the heat on for too long. If you're using your heating less often, you will see a saving.
A smart plug is an adaptor that plugs into your wall or outlet and connects to Wi-Fi networks. Once connected, you can control your smart plug remotely via an app so you can turn your plugs on and off while you’re away. Leaving devices on standby is a waste of electricity and can rack up your bills so having a smart plug on hand to switch them off is money-saving and energy efficient. You can also install a smart switch, which means replacing your existing electrical switch with a smart home version. Smart plugs also come in handy if you’ve just gone to bed and realised you’ve left a lamp on, or you want to turn something on but you don’t want to move!
Smart light bulbs are internet-enabled LED bulbs that allow you to control, schedule and customise your lighting remotely. The best smart bulbs and smart lighting solutions are controlled by an app on your smartphone or tablet so you can turn your lights on and off when you’re home or when you’re away. While smart bulbs do cost more than standard bulbs, they help you save money in the long run and reduce your monthly and annual energy bills.
What are the benefits of smart home devices?
Smart homes allow you to have greater control over your energy usage. You can control things like the temperature of your home, turning on and off lights, having the power to turn on and off electrical plugs and switches while you are out and about.
Smart homes provide insights into your energy use which can in turn help you to become more aware of your consumption habits and look at adapting more energy efficient habits. Smart homes can also pinpoint areas where you are using more energy than you need to, allowing you to cut back in those areas and save money.
Aside from installing smart home devices, what else can I do to make my home more energy efficient and sustainable?
A home energy upgrade not only makes your home more comfortable, they can also increase your homes energy efficiency, in turn reducing your energy costs and carbon emissions.
The first port of call in improving your home’s energy efficiency is checking whether your home has a valid BER certificate. Find out more about BER Ratings check out our BER Rating Guide.
If your home doesn’t have a BER rating, you can use our Green Hub BER energy calculator to get an estimation of your BER based on similar properties to yours using your address or eircode. If you wish to obtain an official BER rating and cert for your home, you can appoint an independent assessor to inspect and survey your home. Your BER Advisory report will provide with some unique recommendations based on your home.
If you decide to carry out upgrade works to your home, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) offer a variety of grant options to help Irish households to improve their homes energy efficiency such as heating controls. Heating controls work by matching your heating and hot water schedules to the way you use your home. It's a smarter way to heat your home and hot water. This grant will help you install heating controls in your home. Learn about the grant value and how to apply. Check out our Ultimate Guide home energy grants available to homeowners.
For example, attic insulation is often the most cost-effective upgrade you can make to your home. Well-known Quantity Surveyor and An Post Green Hub ambassador Patricia Power recommends checking what insulation lies between the ceiling joists in your attic – it should be between 300mm and 400mm. Check out our guide to home insulation grants which may be available to you.
Another way to make your home more energy efficient is to install solar panels which the SEAI also offer grants for. Check out our guide to solar panels and the various options available to Irish homeowners.
The Green Hub from An Post is a one-stop shop for your sustainable home energy upgrades. Get recommendations, potential upgrade costs and energy savings using our BER energy calculator. Then book in for your free home assessment, conducted in partnership with SSE Airtricity, and review your upgrade options, price quotes and grant options to get you started on your journey to a more energy efficient and comfortable home.
With An Post’s Green Home Energy Improvement Loan, you can check your eligibility for Ireland’s leading and lowest market rate Green Loan, to help fund the cost of your retrofit project outside of grant allowances.