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Save electricity in the smart home

Energy prices will explode in winter 2021/2022. A good time to optimize the energy requirements in your own four walls and thus reduce costs. Our series of articles with the focus on saving energy costs shows how and with what this works. This article originally appeared in mid-2020 but is still valid today.

Smart is everything that provides more comfort, efficiency or security at home and can be operated via the Internet via an app. Since the technology pretends to be “smart”, it should save one or two kilowatt hours, right?

The bad news first: First of all, the smart technology consumes additional electricity because it is in use around the clock and also keeps the electricity meter going in standby. For example, you can only enjoy the full comfort of a smart lighting system if the lamps are permanently energized, even if they do not emit any light. If all the lights in the house are networked, this can easily result in continuous consumption of 50 watts and more, which corresponds to around 130 euros per year (we calculate at 30 ct / kWh).

Energy prices will explode in winter 2021/2022. A good time to optimize the energy requirements in your own four walls and thus reduce costs. Our series of articles with the focus on saving energy costs shows how and with what this works.

The networked loudspeakers from Sonos with integrated voice assistants are always ready and can also be used for automatic announcements or a house alarm – with standby values ​​of over 4 watts, they unfortunately belong to the power wasters. A fancy 4.1 system with Sonos Playbar, two One and one Sub costs 44 euros of electricity per year. Smart household and kitchen appliances can only develop their potential when they are in standby mode. Anyone looking for a clever solution that should ultimately also save electricity will start with a minus through the consumption of standby electricity or batteries.

The probability of saving increases if you first take care of the real power guzzlers in the house. Heating and cooling devices are at the top of the list.

The refrigerator has to run through, of course, but a sensor inside or a power consumption monitor in the form of a simple adapter can warn you if the door of the refrigerator is accidentally left open and energy is wasted. The compressor in a large refrigerator consumes 200 watts. If he plows all night against room temperature, the next morning 50 cents are missing in his wallet.

With the smart home centers tested in c't 08/2019 - here the Homey - you can save electricity by controlling and switching off superfluous consumers.

With the smart home centers tested in c't 08/2019 - here the Homey - you can save electricity by controlling and switching off superfluous consumers.

With smart home centers – here the Homey – you can save electricity by controlling and switching off superfluous consumers.

If the children do not manage to turn off the lights in the room after leaving, you can save money with networked lights and motion detectors, as the splendid lighting only shines when someone is actually in the room – in theory at least: a setup made up of two smart bulbs ( 7 watts each) with a motion detector, however, causes standby costs of around EUR 3.50 per year. For this amount, the two lamps could light up completely for a month. The matter is only really worthwhile with very unruly pupils.

By the way, there are also simple “stupid” motion detectors for installation in a switch box. With a standby of 1 watt, it can be worthwhile to use it instead of a wall switch, for example for hallway lighting. In the garden, you can save more money with smart lighting, as more light and thus electricity is usually required for illumination. Thanks to astronomical control, outdoor lights can be switched on depending on the sunrise and sunset instead of the time of day. So they don’t shine pointlessly against the sun in summer.

When it comes to heating, you can also save energy with smart technology, for example by catching operating errors by the user. As in the case of an open refrigerator, the energy dissipates senselessly if the windows are tilted for hours during the heating season. Window opening sensors always notify you if you are only heating for global warming and switch the heating off. Simple thermostats would otherwise give full throttle because of the drop in room temperature. The potential profit is difficult to quantify. But when you step into a cozy bathroom with a tilted window and a glowing heater after a long day at work with winter outside temperatures, it spontaneously hurts even before the end-of-year settlement.

More from c't magazine

More from c't magazine

More from c't magazine

More from c't magazine

Small electrical heating elements that are only switched on when people are present can also relieve the “large heating system”. An infrared surface in the bathroom, for example, only starts up when someone is standing in front of the mirror and provides pleasant radiant heat without completely heating the room to 25 degrees.

Anyone who owns electric shutters or blackout elements can also use them to save energy. The weather service in the network already knows the day before what solar radiation is to be expected. If the sun warms the house, the heating does not have to be turned on in the morning. In summer, on the other hand, the automatic darkening ensures that rooms are as cool as possible.

Before investing in smart air conditioning, you should question your personal heating behavior. A single who automatically turns the heating down when not in the house could save half of his heating energy. However, this measure helps next to nothing in families where someone is practically always present. Anyone who leaves the radiator turned off anyway and relies on geothermal energy, passive houses or the surrounding apartments will not be able to save much with smart heating technology.

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Disclaimer: This article is generated from the feed and not edited by our team.