Heating. Cooling. Lighting. Stand-by. Energy-saving in Smart Homes.

Using home automation set-ups to save energy without compromising on home comfiness isn’t rocket science. Tracking energy guzzlers and shutting them down is one sure way to save money on your utility bills. And you don’t lose out on comfort either. How all this works and what part our platform plays in the process is outlined below. Moreover, we explain and link to ready-to-use automation templates. Import them into your Conrad Connect account and start saving energy right away. Helps protect the environment and keeps your wallet happy, too.

Step 1: Identify Energy Guzzlers

Heating, cooling and lightning are an integral part of our home life. These days, this also includes a bit of multimedia entertainment. However, operating everything at maximum capacity even if you don’t need to tends to seriously impact your cash flow options. Some culprits are easily identified, such as keeping the heating on whilst airing your place during arctic outside temperatures. And some appliances may consume way more energy than you think, because they are nearing the end of their lifespan, or because devices in stand-by mode keep gobbling up plenty of wattage.

Save energy and thus protect the environment and your wallet. Picture by electriceye | AdobeStock.

Our platform makes detecting energy guzzlers in your smart home set-up easy. Most recent smart plugs come with built-in electricity meters. Auto-forwarding the readings to a Google sheet allows pinpointing the main offenders at a glance (for how to tweak the template to fit your needs, check out  tips and advice provided by our community members.) 

Project setups centred around smart mains plugs let you define upper usage limits for individual devices. Here’s a project that uses a smart light bulb/display combo to notify you whenever an appliance exceeds its energy allowance. After which it’s up to you to decide whether you want to switch off the device.

If your energy bills go up for no discernible reason, check out the room thermostat temperature settings. This project takes multiple readings of both indoor and outdoor temperature and auto- populates a Google spreadsheet with the collected values. This type of data visualisation allows you to compare relative usages, and to make sure that the temperature sensor is still working properly.

Keep Lighting in Check

Home automation systems oftentimes start off with a set of smart LED bulbs. They tend to come with a  remote operation option, so let’s make use of it. Because even the most energy-efficient light bulb on the planet isn’t really energy-efficient if being switched on when nobody’s at home.  Naturally, everyone intends to turn off the lights when they are leaving home or the workplace, but reality tells a different story. Fortunately, there’s now affordable smart technology that makes automating lighting at home easy, including motion detectors that only turn on the lights if necessary, and off again after a period of inactivity. On the other hand, office buildings require occupancy sensors capable of detecting people that sit at their desks, working.

When it comes to outdoor lighting, a sunup/sundown-based operation is the way to go. Means no waste of energy by fairly lights on balconies or patio lights trying to outshine the star our planet orbits. As above, why not use usage limit presets to avoid any surprises when the utility bills arrive through the letterbox?

Controlling garden lighting with smart projects can save energy and time. Picture by F.Schmidt | Shutterstock.

Low-energy Heating and Cooling

Heating or air-conditioning rooms individually has the highest potential for saving a chunk of cash. Precisely how much you save by using smart thermostatic radiator valves depends on a wide range of factors. However, if you are among those who keep the heating running no matter what, you will definitely see you bills going down when using TRVs.

Smart window contacts notify you if windows stay open for an unusually long time whilst the heating is operating at maximum levels. More details on this project here. And there are other ready-to-use automation templates available on our platform, including this one that kicks in after a preset delay. This one takes the outside temperature into account which boosts process accuracy.

Using both heating and solar radiation to up room temperatures also cuts back energy consumption. This project utilises online weather forecasts to determine the daily hours of sunshine, opening motor-operated blinds automatically whenever it is bright out there. This allows reducing radiator output without affecting comfiness.

It also works the other way around. Close the blinds before powering up energy-guzzling air conditioners or fans. This project does precisely that.

Goes without saying that your fridge and freezer need to operate day in day out. However, making sure that doors or lids are closed helps a lot. Smart temperature sensors pick up unusual usage peaks and tell you to check things out.

Quit the Stand-by Habit 

Nowadays, most  TVs and audio stereo sets only consume tiny amounts of energy in stand-by mode. However, there is always an exception! Also, there are those zillions of battery-powered devices that still drain energy when kept connected to a charger after their batteries have been recharged. After all, every little bit counts. Smart in-line sockets allow disconnecting devices in stand-by mode from the grid, particularly if you are away from home, and thus don’t use the equipment anyway.

Does watching the news at six really require Dolby Surround 7.1? Why not just keep audio head stages and your phalanx of speakers switched off?  Here are two projects that use smart plugs, a Logitech Harmony hub and our platform to turn on and off home entertainment products. Also, binge-watching a box set’s worth of Game of Thrones means you won’t use most of the other equipment at home. Means sync powering up your home cinema system with the lights being switched off in all the other rooms.

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Watching TV can be enjoyable, especially if all entertainment devices are working properly at home. Picture by rcfotostock | Adobe Stock.

The Whole Nine Yards: How to Use Home Automation to Save Energy

Basically, when it comes to using smart home setups to save energy, it all boils down to switching appliances on and off at the right time. Simplify automation routines by making your presence at home the decider whether equipment is switched on, with automatically powering down all appliances that don’t need to operate whilst you are out and about. As soon as you are back, your home automation system turns the power on again.

What sort of trigger you choose is entirely up to you. For instance, there are motion detectors that take care of everything. Alternatively, use smart phone action buttons, Telegram messages, smart wall switches or a voice command to kick everything back into action.

Pulling all "plugs" without having to pull a plug: this is possible with smart energy management. Picture by Eisenhans | Adobe Stock.


Energy-saving Smart Devices with Conrad Connect Compatibility

Our platform supports a steadily growing range of smart mains plugs and thermostats that allow you to keep an eye on the energy usage of household appliances. Below a list of products that come with Conrad Connect compatibility (updated in August 2019).

Thermostats & TRVs

  • Dio ED-TH-02 Central Heating Controller
  • Dio ED-TH-03 Heating Controller
  • HomeMatic HM-CC-RT-DN Thermostatic Radiator Valve (via CloudMatic)
  • HomeMatic HM-TC-IT-WM-W-EU Wall Thermostat (via CloudMatic)
  • Homematic IP HMIP-eTRV / Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • Homematic IP HmIP-eTRV-2 Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • Homematic IP HmIP-eTRV-B Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • Homematic IP HmIP-eTRV-C H Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • Homematic IP HmIP-FAL230-C10 / FAL230-C10 Underfloor Thermal Actuator (10-wire, 230V)
  • Homematic IP HmIP-FAL230-C6 / FAL230-C6 Underfloor Thermal Actuator (6-wire, 230V)
  • Homematic IP HmIP-FAL24-C10 / FAL24-C10 Underfloor Thermal Actuator (10-wire, 24V)
  • Homematic IP HmIP-FAL24-C6 / FAL24-C6 Underfloor Thermal Actuator (6-wire, 24V)
  • Honeywell evohome Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • Honeywell evohome Wall Thermostat
  • Honeywell Lyric T6 Wireless Thermostat (flush-mount)
  • Honeywell Lyric T6 Wi-Fi Thermostat
  • Honeywell Lyric T6R WirelessThermostat (free-standing)
  • Honeywell Lyric T6R Wi-Fi Thermostat
  • Innogy Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • Netatmo Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • Smartwares HS-53000 SmartHome Basic Wirless Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • Somfy Tahoma Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • Tado Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • Tado Thermostat

Air Con

  • Sensibo Sky

Mains Outlets

  • Ablue SP1 Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • AISIRER AWP07L Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • ANCCY WLAN In-line Socket (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Avatar Controls AWP07L Smart Home Outlet 
  • Blitzwolf BW-SHP2 Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • cDream NX-SM200 Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • CLS (Aplic) WDP 303075 Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Coosa Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Devolo Home Control Wireless Smart Plug
  • Devolo Home Control 9354 Wireless Smart Plug
  • Etlephe Wi-Fi Smart Power Strip (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Egardia SPLUG-29 Wireless Smart Plug
  • Gigaset Elements S30851-H2519-R101Smart Plug
  • Gosund SP1/SP111 Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Gosund WP3 Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Hama WLAN-/Smart Home Smart Plug (176533) (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Homematic IP HmIP-PDT Socket/Dimmer  (reverse phase)
  • Homematic IP HmIP-PS Socket
  • Homematic IP HMIP-PSM Socket
  • HomeMatic 132989A0 Wireless Smart Plug (via CloudMatic)
  • HomeMatic HM-ES-PMSw1-Pl 130248 Wireless Smart Plug(via CloudMatic)
  • HYLTON/HLT HLT-314 Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Innogy SmartHome Wireless Smart Plug
  • Jomarto Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Koogeek KLOE4 Smart Power Strip (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Kopp Free Control Wireless Smart Plug
  • Kopp Free Control Wireless Dimmer
  • Luminea (Pearl) Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Maxcio W-DE004 Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Osram Smart+ In-Line Smart Socket
  • Osram Smart+ In-Line Smart Socket (outdoor)
  • OxaOxe NX-SM200 Smart Plug/Energy Logger  (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • OxaOxe 2-gang Smart Plug/Energy Logger (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Panamalar NX-SM200 Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Smappee Comfort Plugs
  • Smartwares SmartHome Basic SH5-RPS-36A Wireless Smart Plug
  • Tflag Smart NX-SM100 Wireless Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • TP-Link Kasa HS100_EU 3680W Wi-Fi Smart Plug 
  • TP-Link Kasa HS110_EU Wi-Fi Smart Plug
  • Teckin SP21 and SP22 Smart Plugs (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • TRUST SWTCH ACC-2300 Wireless Mains Plug
  • Tuya 2-gang Smart Plug/Energy Logger (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Waza Wi-Fi Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Woox Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life)
  • Zoozee SE131 Smart Plug (via Tuya / Smart Life

Any more ideas on how to use smart devices to save energy? If so, come up with a project and share it on Conrad Connect.