In the last few years, there have been significant advances in how we control, monitor, and generate electricity in our homes, thanks to smart technology.
Tracking day-to-day energy consumption used to be a guessing game, with the true extent of usage only revealed once the dreaded electric bill arrived. Nowadays we can get an “X-ray view” of our home's energy use thanks to whole home energy monitors, allowing us to identify energy hogs and reduce waste.
Smart plugs and smart power strips enable us to remote and voice control electronic devices and appliances, which is both amazingly convenient while also helping to reduce electrical use.
Solar power generation helps us to harness renewable energy from the sun while net metering enables homeowners to sell excess energy back to the grid. Home battery backup systems, when integrated with solar power generation, can help us achieve greater energy independence and provide a reliable source of electricity during peak hours or power outages.
In this article, I dive into ten smart home devices that can help control, monitor, and generate energy.
10 Smart Home Energy Devices and Systems
1. Smart Plugs
These devices are plugged into standard electrical outlets and allow you to control and monitor the power usage of the connected appliances remotely.
With features like scheduling, energy monitoring, and compatibility with voice assistants, smart plugs make it easy to automate your home and save energy.
Popular smart plug models include the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug, Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug, and Amazon Smart Plug.
2. Smart Power Strips
Smart power strips function similarly to smart plugs but can accommodate multiple devices simultaneously.
These power strips offer surge protection and individual control of each outlet, allowing you to manage the energy consumption of various devices from a single source.
Examples of popular smart power strips include the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip and the Eve Energy Strip.
3. Smart In-Wall Outlets
Smart in-wall power outlets replace traditional electrical outlets, providing remote control, energy monitoring, and automation capabilities directly from the wall.
These outlets can be controlled via smartphone apps or voice commands through compatible smart home systems, allowing you to manage your devices and conserve energy more effectively.
In addition to scheduling and energy monitoring features, some smart in-wall outlets also offer USB charging ports, making it easier to charge your mobile devices without using an additional adapter.
Notable smart in-wall power outlets on the market include the Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi Outlet, TP-Link Kasa Smart In-Wall Outlet, and GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Smart Outlet.
4. Smart Energy Monitors
Whole home energy monitors provide real-time insights into your home's energy consumption by tracking usage data and displaying it on a smartphone app or web interface.
These devices can help you identify energy hogs, reduce energy waste, and save on your electricity bills.
Some leading smart energy monitor models are Sense Energy Monitor, Emporia Vue, and Neurio Home Energy Monitor.
5. Smart Meters
Smart meters are digital devices that replace traditional analog electricity meters. They provide real-time information about your energy usage and communicate this data to your utility provider.
With features like remote monitoring, accurate billing, and integration with other smart home systems, smart meters offer a more efficient and convenient way to manage your home's energy consumption.
Many utility companies across the world are now implementing smart meter rollouts to their customers.
6. Solar Power Generation & Net Metering
Solar power generation involves installing solar panels on your home to convert sunlight into electricity. This renewable energy solution can significantly reduce your energy bills and carbon footprint. There are three main types of solar panels commonly used in residential installations:
- Monocrystalline Solar Panels
- Polycrystalline Solar Panels
- Thin-Film Solar Panels
Net metering is a billing arrangement that allows homeowners with solar power systems to sell their excess energy back to the grid. This practice can further offset energy costs and encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources.
7. Home Battery Backup Systems
Home battery backup systems store excess solar energy generated during the day for use during peak hours or power outages. These systems can help reduce reliance on the grid, ensure energy security, and save on electricity costs.
Some popular home battery backup systems include the Tesla Powerwall, LG Chem RESU, and SonnenBatterie Eco. By integrating a battery backup system with your solar power generation, you can achieve a more self-sufficient and sustainable home energy solution.
8. Smart UPS for Home
A Smart UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) is a device that provides emergency power to your electronic devices or home medical equipment in the event of a power outage. These UPS units not only protect sensitive equipment from damage caused by power fluctuations but also offer remote management and monitoring capabilities.
With features like automatic voltage regulation, surge protection, advanced monitoring, and alarm notifications these smart UPS units ensure seamless power supply and protection for your home.
Popular smart UPS models include the APC Back-UPS Pro, CyberPower Intelligent LCD UPS, and Eaton 5S.
9. Smart EV Chargers
As electric vehicle (EV) ownership grows, the demand for efficient and convenient home charging solutions is on the rise. Smart EV chargers offer remote control, scheduling, energy monitoring, and integration with renewable energy sources, making them an ideal choice for EV owners.
By using a smart EV charger, you can optimize charging times, reduce energy costs, and monitor your EV's charging status from anywhere.
Some popular smart EV charger models are ChargePoint Home Flex, JuiceBox, and Wallbox Pulsar Plus.
10. Smart Circuit Breaker Box
Smart electrical breaker panels not only serve the traditional role of protecting your home's electrical system from overloads and short circuits but also offer advanced features for monitoring and controlling your home's energy consumption.
Smart breaker panels come equipped with built-in sensors that monitor the energy usage of individual circuits in real-time. This granular data allows homeowners to identify energy hogs, track usage patterns, and optimize energy consumption for greater efficiency. With the help of an accompanying app or web interface, users can receive notifications about potential issues, remotely control individual breakers, and even set up schedules for specific circuits.
They can also communicate with smart meters, energy monitors, and home automation platforms, creating a seamless and intelligent home energy management system.
Some popular smart electrical breaker panel models include Span, Leviton Load Center, Schneider Electric's Wiser Energy, and Eaton's xEnergy Smart Core.