Save energy by turning off occasionally-used devices automatically, remotely, or through voice-activated controls.
Plug load refers to the energy consumed by electronics that are always plugged in, but only used occasionally, such as small kitchen appliances, entertainment systems, and office equipment. Collectively, plug loads account for 20% of home energy consumption in the U.S., and that number is growing. Even when turned off, many of these devices continue to draw power in standby mode . Smart electronics—particularly smart plugs, outlets, and advanced power strips—allow you to effectively manage your energy use through voice or remote control, and by automatically shutting off standby loads.
With built-in components and wireless capability, smart televisions stream media more efficiently than digital media players or gaming consoles. They have the potential to save energy by removing the need for other media-related devices, but they draw three to 30 times more power than traditional television sets. Look for ENERGY STAR®-certified models that boast the latest features but minimize energy use and high standby loads.
- Smart TVs are the most efficient way to stream media on a large screen
- Look for ENERGY STAR certified models, which are 25% more energy efficient
- Replace more energy-intensive digital media players and gaming consoles
Smart Plugs & Outlets
Smart plugs and outlets turn almost anything with a plug into a smart device. You can monitor how much power your connected devices use, and cut energy use in half by fully shutting them off when not in use. While not technically “smart,” Tier 2 advanced power strips have the highest energy savings potential, with motion sensor technology that turns off active and standby power when occupants aren’t in the room, or have fallen asleep.
- Save up to 20% on the energy use of ordinary lamps, electronics, and appliances
- Monitor and manage the energy use of energy-intensive equipment, such as gaming consoles
- Program devices to turn off when not in use or at specific times of day, or set scenes in combination with other smart devices
- Always check plug safety specifications, particularly before use with larger appliances like air conditioners, dryers, or refrigerators
Hubs are the cornerstone of any smart home. They connect and manage other smart devices using software and sensing technology, to more effectively control overall usage. Because they provide greater automation and oversight, smart hubs may increase the energy-saving potential of individual smart devices. Compatibility between devices can be an issue. Look for models or systems that communicate with all of your smart devices, automate tasks, and provide wall-to-wall wireless coverage of your home.
- Manage energy use across multiple devices
- Be sure to confirm compatibility with your other smart devices
- Some hubs can be joined to create mesh networks that ensure strong connections and stop dead zones
Home Energy Monitors
Home energy management systems monitor and control your electricity use. They are installed by a licensed electrician, who will hook up the hardware to your circuit breaker. You can then download the software app to begin detecting and monitoring all electricity use in the home. Over time, the system will identify patterns in your power consumption, and make recommendations about how to reduce usage. It will also send alerts for high usage or unusual activity, such as when the stove is on, or the garage door opens.
- Requires a contractor to install the hardware in your home’s electrical panel
- Maximize the efficiency of individual smart devices, with energy savings of 5-22%
- Keep your home safer by receiving alerts on high usage or unusual activity