Home Automation Trends: LEED & Energy Efficiency
Home automation is the future of household living. Home automation allows homes to be smarter and more responsive to homeowner’s routines and personal preferences. Maintaining a sophisticated network of connected electric appliances and home furnishings is a great idea, however, some homeowners are skeptical of the ramifications of keeping so many devices running constantly. Often, questions arise over the electrical power requirements and whether these home automation solutions are wasting energy rather than saving it.
As a result, home automation providers have sought to address environmental concerns. This rising concern led to the formation of green building certifications for home automation, the most prominent amongst them called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
LEED is the most widely recognized standard in building green homes. It also gives home designers and systems integrators the information and essential practices which can help reduce energy consumption. The environmental rating of a LEED certified home makes for greater eco-friendliness and efficiency than homes built following standard practices.
In 2010, a U.S. Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration survey concluded that a typical household spends about $2,150 a year on residential energy bills. A LEED certified home however, manages to waive off 30% of these energy costs. And that’s just the start.
LEED certification comes in a variety of categories (subject to conditions that a home meets) such as:
- LEED Silver homes – Approximately 30% off in energy savings
- LEED Gold homes – Approximately 48% off in annual energy bills
- LEED Platinum homes – 50-60%
For an average household which consumes about $2,150 in energy in a year, just gaining the silver certification will result in savings between $200-400.
Building a green and LEED-certified home costs as much as building a conventional one, sometimes even lower than that.
The LEED certification also works as a third-party verification which determines whether a place was designed using strategies which improve performance metrics, such as water efficiency, CO2 footprint, indoor environmental quality and energy savings.
An LEED-certified home benefits more from home automation than the average home. Be it lighting systems, shade control systems, thermostats, appliances or water leaks, the performance and overall savings are greater in both the short run and long run.
Below, we’ll look at features which can be made more efficient with LEED, resulting in more effective energy use and reduced costs:
Comprehensive lighting systems integrated with home automation solutions can perform better. Dimming the lights as well as reducing the energy footprint is possible if the equipment passes LEED standards. Remote access to lighting systems can result in efficient monitoring of lights, giving homeowners real-time information about any unnecessary energy waste.
Occupancy sensors and solar irradiation sensors can also reduce energy consumption as you can automate the lights in your home, ensuring they are on only when needed. This, in turn, also increases the life expectancy of bulbs since the system uses them only when it’s absolutely necessary.
Automated shade control illuminates rooms and can switch between natural sunlight and overhead lighting depending on the time of the day. Home automation systems with lighting control and solar irradiation sensors can even harvest the daylight and mitigate the level of heat in the room by channeling the rays of the sun.
There are times when water leakage can occur in a home, be it via a plumbing mishap or an overflowing tap. Home automation systems can detect water levels in designated areas and can send notifications and alerts to the smart device. This can help save water and keep homeowners from paying flood damage costs.
Thermostat and Temperature Regulation
Home automation systems can connect to thermostats, giving homeowners access to temperature settings. Any excess heat can be captured and reused through energy recovery ventilators, saving on heating costs.
The LEED certification has made homeowners consider investing in green and sustainable-living home automation solutions. Reducing energy consumption and utilizing energy efficiently makes automated solutions all the more attractive to a broader clientele. Be it any aspect of home automation, it’s now deemed a standard to make homes which conform to LEED requirements.
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