The public may feel it is constantly being lectured by Government and energy companies about energy saving and efficiency, but no one ever really offers solutions. Users are continuously offered access to monitors and tools to help with efficiency monitoring but there are no alternatives and solutions to increasing energy bills. While energy companies may not want reduced bills, as ultimately their profits will suffer, a solution is needed to to keep efficiency at optimum levels throughout the day.
It is important to point out that over the past 30 years, electrical installations and the processes involved in installing them have seen very little change at all. Think about the advancements across the technology, manufacturing and architectural industries and it is clear that there is potential for change within the electrical world. Modern electrical installations can offer greater efficiency, convenience, time saving features, personal security and comfort.
When using a modern electrical installation it is possible to change consumption habits. These systems work to improve the way homes consume energy. Through accurate and continuous monitoring, energy efficient components, heating solutions and motion detection, it is possible to significantly improve homes’ energy efficiencies.
Most importantly, it is vital for homeowners to keep track of consumption. This is the primary tool for increased efficiency. When awareness increases, the likelihood of consumers being more careful with energy increases.
One electrical installation that offers just this is Niko Home Control. It provides a precise overview of how much energy is being consumed at any time of day. Current and daily energy consumption can be read from the eco-display.
The display also allows analyse of the devices consume the most in standby mode and, if the building has solar panels, it is possible to measure how much electricity is being produced.
When leaving the home or premises, the unit’s eco-button can be pushed, causing the house to automatically shift in to its most economical state. It will automatically switch the lighting and socket outlets off or set the ventilation and heating a degree lower.
Where there are concerns that too much energy is being used, the eco software available on touchscreen devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops, allows the user to investigate further where the most energy is being use, so corrective action can be taken quickly.
Another key aspect of energy efficiency comes down to the internal components. One of the best places to start is by replacing incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs to decrease energy bills immediately.
Although LEDs are an investment at the outset, paying the up-front higher cost will see a return on the investment within the first couple of years – and will go on making financial savings for many more. What’s more, LED bulbs come with advertised lifetimes of 10,000 hours and above, compared to the typical 1,000 hour lifetime of hot-running halogen bulbs; so replacing burnt out halogen lamps is also reduced.
It is safe to say that most of us will have heated rooms that are very rarely used. A fundamental solution to increase efficiency is to only heat rooms when necessary.
With Niko, the ability to use zone heating can save a whole lot of energy. For example, the children's bedrooms can be heated between 5 and 8 o'clock in the evening during the week, and the bathroom between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning and 10 and 11 o'clock in the evening to control the temperature in different rooms.
Efficiency and safety
The Eco Save feature means a pre-set the thermostat can stay at a certain temperature when occupants leave, so the house is not unnecessarily heated. Once back home, the usual heating programmes continue, as desired. More impressively perhaps, integrating alarm systems can ensure that whenever it is set, the house automatically switches to its most energy efficient mode.
Many modern electrical installations allow the addition of both internal and external detectors to an installation that measure sunlight, wind, rain and temperature.
For instance, these detectors allow sunblinds to be activated based on the amount of sunlight entering the windows, or based on the temperature of the room. The blinds will be lowered automatically when the indoor temperature reaches a certain point or when too much light is entering the windows. Likewise, the windows can be set to open or close if the temperature gets too hot or cold. (They will not open if it is raining or open enough to risk burglaries.)
The ventilation system can also be switched on and off automatically, based on the quality of the air indoors, measured by a CO² detector. There are many different features that can be included and most automation systems are bespoke, to meet a building’s, or its occupants’, needs.
Leaving lights on when they’re not needed is an energy faux pas that is, without doubt, committed regularly across the UK. In an electrical installation, motion detectors can be used in rooms where the light sometimes remains on without being noticed, such as in a storage room, walk-in closet, bathroom (or in children’s bedroom!)
With Niko’s motion detector, the light only switches on when someone is present in the room. Motion detectors can also be used on a drive or in the garden. When a vehicle is detected driving up the driveway, the lighting switches on. When there is no movement in the garden, the lighting is automatically switched off. Not only is this a great energy saving tool, but it also works as an effective security feature.
Finally, many home control installations now offer a tool for remote control. With Niko, all of the functions included on the smartphone (both Android and iPhone) and tablet applications can also be used outside the home. Niko Home Control can be securely operated via 3G, GPRS or a WiFi hotspot. This means users can monitor energy consumption to remotely monitor whether unnecessary water, electricity or gas is being consumed. The remote allows users to turn off energy-guzzling appliances from a distance, resulting in reduced bills when away from home.
It is possible to bring energy bills down, with an initial investment in a modern electrical installation to increase energy efficiency effectively and reduce bills.
Figure 1; With Niko, all of the functions included on smartphone and tablet applications can also be used outside the home.
Figure 2; A modern electrical installation can change consumption habits.
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