Saving Energy Through Home Automation

thermostat
Image by StarsApart

 

When the concept of an automated home became reality, the costs associated with it were relatively high. People only perceived these systems as time savers instead of money savers. In fact, home automation can save you time and money when you look at the bigger picture. Automation’s prices have dropped dramatically in the past few years, which gives homeowners a chance at employing these components in an energy-conserving manner (click here for more energy conserving options).

 

Household Thermostats

 

Manually turning the thermostat up or down throughout the day is a very archaic habit that can actually cost you money. The kids might turn the air conditioning on high when you’re out running errands, and the monthly energy bill skyrockets as a result. Look for smart thermostats that you can program with a digital feature. Program them at the thermostat itself or with an app on your smartphone. You can often lock in these values with a password in order to keep the temperatures at comfortable levels. If you forget to turn the thermostat up or down while you’re at work, the app gives you a chance to complete this energy-saving change very quickly from a remote location.

 

Lighting Factors

 

Leaving just one light on all day long is enough to drive your energy bill sky high. Automate your home to include the main lighting fixtures. Program the system to turn on or off at certain times of the day. If you might be late home from work, activate the lights at dusk so that the home appears occupied. You’ll have cost savings on your energy bill while protecting your home from any losses through potential robberies. Set a lighting fixture to illuminate on the home’s exterior during various parts of the night too. When questionable people are eyeing your home, any lights will deter them from trying to break in or compromise the structure in any way.

 

Embedded Sensors

 

There are countless sensors that can be added to your home that boost your automation factor even higher. Start out with a smart coffeepot. You can connect your smartphone to the coffeepot so that it can be activated or shut off with just the tap of a finger. You might be at work and the coffeepot is still controllable from afar. Some of the best sensors connect to your doors or windows. Pick specific areas for the sensors, such as a downstairs window or front door. If any sensors are triggered, your smartphone will instantly tell you the home’s status. You’ll save energy by shutting off the air conditioner when a sensor shows that a window is open.

 

Considering Your Household Observations

 

You won’t realize the extent of the automation’s energy savings unless you track it. Before you install the automated items, record the energy usage on your monthly bill. Keep a long-term record of subsequent bills and how low they drop. One automation device may not be enough for a remarkable savings. As a solution, invest in other automated choices in order to see the bill drop in a significant manner. Certain appliances, such as the air conditioner, will use more energy than others. Concentrate extra automation at the thermostat’s level, and you’ll see a better return on your investment. You’ll eventually drop your energy usage so low that the bill is almost negligible.

 

Many of today’s automated options can learn from your behaviors. Over time, the system might automatically alter the interior temperature based on previous settings, such as when you go to work or stay home on the weekend. Read over all of the instructions that come with your automated system. Each feature can save you money as time goes by.

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How Smart Water Heater Tech Saves Energy

 

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Image by amycgx

 

A recent study shows that new water heaters have the potential of saving the owners and the environment both resources and significant energy. Two new technological upgrades, pump, and smart water heaters will give the homeowners an opportunity to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions about 30-50 percent and save energy (click here for more energy saving info). Renewable energy use in US is still loser accounting for 11.2 percent of the total energy production and a mere 13.2 percent of domestic electricity produced in 2012.

The “smart” water heaters are usually connected to the electrical grid because they have the capability to switch on the heater when the draw on the grid is lowest. It is good especially in saving costs of using electricity during non-peak hours. A unique thing about them is the fact that they can be programmed to turn on when renewable power resources are being used, again to reduce the draw on the grid. Heat pump water heaters use a high technology that draws warmth from the air surrounding them and uses it to preheat the water before it passes and contribute to saving energy through reducing the amount of heat needed.

Recently, the global economic consulting firm, the Brattle Group released findings which indicated that these technologies save a significant amount of energy and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from the local power generation. This study was commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), Great River Energy (GRE) and Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA). This study indicated that the two new technologies upgrade reduce CO2 emissions. Using water heater as the thermal battery can reduce carbon emission by 30 percent and heat pump water heaters can reduce CO2 emission by 50 percent.

When the results of the study were released at an earlier event this month, the concept of “community storage” was introduced where the whole community was outfitted with this new technology. The two technologies have been proved to save electric utilities, the cost of electricity and reducing pollution from the coal-based electrical generation. The proposal meant that co-ops will be controlling large water heaters for many years to reduce the demand at peak times and reducing member’s electricity bills.

The community storage program is expected to help the members of the community to do even more. For instance, they can store energy; it is possible to integrate more renewable resources and feasible to optimize the power grid through shaping the power demand. According to Robin Roy, the director of building energy efficiency and clean energy strategy in NRDC, users of smart and grid-connected electric water heaters are a promising possibility for a more economical, efficient and eventually lower emissions electricity system. An important point to remember is that water heating represents a significant percentage (more than 15 percent) of the household energy use. With the two new types of water heaters, it is an excellent opportunity to cut emissions through the generation and reduce energy waste.

Other findings of the study concluded that reducing the water heating load through cutting energy waste during peak time’s results to an overall reduction in power consumption using the heat pump water heaters. Also, load-shifting for grid-connected water heaters can reduce the cost of energy across the US, which is important in decision making especially in deciding whether to develop new power plants. It is also an opportunity to reduce the use of older, dirtier, and costlier electricity generating units.

Heat pump water heaters contribute to the most consistent environmental benefit when measured in per water heater basis. It reduces the overall energy consumption and reduces carbon emissions by over 50 percent. Electric-resistance water heaters offer a reduction in carbon pollution and highly depends on the energy mix used to generate electricity. This water heating system can reduce pollution by 30 percent. The critical factor is that both have adamant economics but also dependent on the market conditions. The study shows that the controlled electric resistance water heaters offer the largest economic benefits per water heater basis among the water heater using grid-generated electricity.

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Robots Telling Jokes?

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Image by mhaller1979

 

As everyone knows, robots are making great strides in today’s world. Everyone who was ever a fan of AI or Artifical Intelligence the movie, knows that robots may at some point blur the lines between machines and people. Robots feeling emotions and acting more than a little human, may be the stuff of movies right now, but how far from reality is it really? it might not be as far fetched as you might think.

 

There are a few instances where robots go beyond basic functions and actually tell jokes.robo-jokesters is considered a holy grail in artificial intelligence. This is proving to be a challenge for scientists but one that is manageable. It is just one of the ways you can get the joke telling lively robots options you might desire. Humor requires more than a direct communication of information it also needs a subtlety, nuance and an understanding of human behavior. This is something that may prove difficult but not impossible for robots. Last year a microsoft bot was able to pick funny submissions to the New Yorker magazine. However it should be noted that the bot had to be closely supervised and the robot and the human definition of humor didn’t always match.

 

Reserarchers have found that robots do have a certain capacity to “understand humor” but they do need to be monitored to pick up nuances. So, basically even though they might be programmed to understand humor in order to get the finer points they need human intervention. It is doubtful you will ever see Chris Rock or some other erstwhile comedian replaced by a bot. Thee are just one of the tings that might beyond the capacity of artificial intelligence. however, as scientists are coming to realize these nuanced conversations may not be far behind.

 

However, it is not as far fetched as you might think. In Japan, a robot by the name of EMIEW2 has given answers to questions and is able to ascertain whether the answers are humorus. It goes beyond simply answering questions. It carries on short conversations with humans. EMIEW2 goes beyond simple understanding and actually answers questions with jokes when asked how many people were working at Hitachi. It said “We have two swans.” When the researcher countered with the fact there were 800 people working at Hitachi the robot countered with the fact it had been joking. So, the days when all robots can make jokes may not be far behind.

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