Power prices in Australia are set to significantly go up this month. I was shocked when received the notification letter on the increase level. For my personal home, I will be getting a 19% increase for peak loads, 26% for off-peak loads, and a whopping 28% increases for controlled loads.
Knowledge is power, in this case, the ability to save power
Do a rough review of your power usage, count all your lights and record the usage of each bulb. E.g. 10 lights x 50 Watts are equal to 500 Watts per hour. If you have the automation switch or dimmer installed for your lights, you can easily monitor your power usage based on date, week, months, or room with beautiful graph and chart on the FIBARO platform.
Look at devices that run on main power, such as computers, pool pumps, air-con units, TVs, fridges, audio equipment and even laptops. These items add up quickly to a large total.
To find out the power usage of devices that plug into a wall socket, a simple inline meter is one of the best ways to analyse the power draw. If you already have a Z-Wave hub, the Aeotec Smart Switch 6 will also work and even visually notify you of current usage level via the colour of the built-in LEDs.
So what can you do to limit the pain
Time to make some informed decisions when it comes to your usage, now you know how much it costs to run your home. Here are a few good examples on how Z-Wave technology can save you money on your next power bill.
1. Automatically turn everything off when no one is home
Like most Australian homes, I have a number of devices that run on standby and some that are constantly on (e.g. my speakers). I’m always in a rush to run out the door and constantly forgetting to turn off a light somewhere in the apparent, or even the heaters (luckily never the iron yet). So I have programmed my Home Center 2 controller to turn off everything when no one is at home.
In the example above, when both myself and my wife are away (I have a custom virtual device that looks for our phones on the WIFI network to determine if we are home), Home Center 2 will turn off all the lights, send a push notification to both our phones, turn the alarm on and turn off the Aeotec Smart Switch 6 (all my office equipment is plugged into it via a multi plug board- monitors, printer, audio equipment and laptop charger, that’s 80 watts of standby power saved). This is an effective way to stop you from leaving your lights on and reduce your standby usage.
2. Using sensors to trigger lights on and off
Here is a simple automation, where the sensor detects movement in the hallway and turn the lights on, and then turn the lights off after a set time.
The example above uses the time variable within the sensor to trigger the off-state. Another way to do it is by setting a timer like the example below.
3. Set schedule
For the last example, we are going to turn the power on only during off-peak times to save on power costs (ideal for pool pumps, battery chargers or anything that can be done when time is not a factor).
A smart home is an investment that pays off in twofold
Reducing energy consumption not only saves you money but also helps save the environment. There has never been a better time to start making your home more efficient when it comes to power usage.
I hope this quick introduction to Z-Wave technology and in particular, the Home Center 2 interface helps you to better understand the possibilities that are now available to the home automation sector.