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Smart Home Technology is the future of Energy Efficiency

Industry experts think that in addition to the very valuable improvements that can be made to a buildings fabric in the form of insulations, orientations, solar panels, Photovoltaics, low energy appliances etc, a 'mover and shaker' in the 'Eco' technology space are the Smart/Intuitive Home Technologies. The opportunities for a niche in the market seems huge and hopefully that opportunity will be great for the innovative kiwis.

Now, I'm the first to admit that i'm a bit of a technophobe. Technology is great when it works, you don't need to think about it and it doesn't go wrong. Probably like an iphone - if its got charge it works.

With regards to anything 'green' or 'eco', I think that there's one main hurdle - its got to make financial sense. If it does, its got a chance of becoming the norm and becoming main stream.

Financial payback needs to be simple to foresee and  with interest rates low (at the time of writing)  my prediction is that inflation will be rising in the years to come, which makes investing now in technologies that save energy (money) in the future, a much easier decision.

Here at Ecobob, we think that Smart/Intuitive Home Technologies are a significant part of that future. Not only do you get the chance to automate your home to save energy, there is a serious 'James Bond' or 'science fiction' coolness to the technology.

Wireless and remote automation to control and monitor is cool and can offer some serious energy efficiency savings. Costs seem to be coming down and technologies becoming simpler for the user and more reliable.

So what can a 'smart home' do for you?

Heating and lighting consumes over a half of the energy usage of a standard home. The savings claimed are eye catching, and  Ata Touch  a NZ company that specialises in energy saving home automation, claim potential energy saving of up to 66% for water heating and 70% for climate control. These are figures not be be ignored when your considering your project.

Home Automation Systems can offer automation of:

  • lighting;
  • fans;
  • blinds and curtains;
  • spa/pool heating;
  • towel rails;
  • underfloor heating;
  • zone controlled heating;
  • Specific power outlets/appliances;
  • Smoke alarms;
  • security systems;

The list goes on and on, and depending on the system there is also the opportunity to include audio and visual systems.

Control is key - Smart systems are controlled from either the central control in the house or from anywhere, at any time from your mobile phone. Forgot to turn the TV off - not a problem, want the house warm for when you get home - done, so its not all about energy efficiency, its also about amenity.

All lighting is dimmable, motion sensors in each room, control over heated floors, heated towels rails, fans, electric roof lights, blinds, lighting timers for security, control and notification of the security system or if the smoke alarms going off. This is in addition to the increased control of the hot water and zoned space heating. There is even the ability to shut the power down to all but the absolutely essential circuits. The options are plentiful.

Technology that offers this increased control, amenity and great energy savings should be the future. With New Zealand's ageing population and the energy poor it would be cool if New Zealand led the way.

We have got our 'Pure' reputation to live up to after all.

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