5 technologies that are reducing home energy consumption – words Al Woods
As we approach 2020 and beyond, the world is being inundated with new technologies, many of which aim to reduce mankind’s carbon footprint.
While corporations in the transportation and manufacturing industries undoubtedly use the most energy per capita, residential electricity usage makes up a significant portion of the global load as well. Fortunately, scientists have been working hard to improve the systems we use in our homes for enhanced energy efficiency. With that said, here are five new technologies that will drastically reduce home energy consumption within the next decade:
1. Heat Recovery Systems
Heat recovery systems, also known as heat recovery ventilation (HRV) systems are designed to capture some of the heat escaping from a structure and re-circulate it throughout the building. These systems can save the average home about 800 to 1,100-kilowatt hours of energy per year. Energy savings introduced by HRV systems are typically greater in colder climates where there’s more of a need for indoor heating.
2. Automated Window Actuators and Shades
Did you know that simply closing your curtains during certain hours of the day or night can reduce your home’s heat loss by up to 17%? Of course, you could just leave the curtains closed all the time, but that’s really no way to live. Automated window shading systems can open and close your curtains on a set schedule. Likewise, automated actuators can open your windows automatically on hot days to let heat out and fresh breeze in, which obviously reduces your dependency on air conditioning.
3. Advanced Insulation
The technologies behind home insulation have been making strides in recent years, allowing for a dramatic increase in the stability and efficiency of residential thermoregulation. In fact, there are certain kinds of insulation just hitting the market that can close gaps as fine as a human hair.
4. Smart Home Controls
Smart home remote controls and Internet of Things (IoT) devices simplify home energy management. Some of the first improvements to start with include smart thermostats, smart blinds, smart lights, and smart appliances. Overall, you could reduce your energy usage by 10% to 15% by upgrading your residence to a smart home. Of course, you will have to take action to ensure your IoT devices are secure. With the devices reliant on WiFi for security, securing your home network is essential.
5. Magnetic Refrigeration
Did you know that there’s a way to create refrigeration and cooling using magnets instead of the traditional technology found in your refrigerator? The magnetocaloric cooling effect was actually discovered in 1881 but has only recently started making waves as a possible alternative to traditional refrigeration systems, with GE already showing off prototypes at trade shows and industry events.
What About Solar Panels?
While solar panels are certainly an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint since they provide renewable energy, they don’t technically reduce the actual amount of energy your home needs to operate – they simply provide another source for it. Still, solar panels are certainly recommended for any environmentally-conscious homeowner who wants to reduce or eliminate their electricity bill.
Ultimately, with solar panels powering the five technologies mentioned above, every home can cut its energy usage by up to 20%-50% while also reducing or completely eliminating the need for grid dependency.