Everyone wants to reduce their energy consumption, whether it’s to save money, be more eco-conscious, or both! Most U.S. homes and businesses run off electricity — that’s why we exist! So to optimize your energy usage, you want to save electricity whenever possible.

That can be a challenge in modern homes: you probably have at least one computer, TV, and fridge, plus various kitchen appliances. You may have gaming consoles, a printer, and exercise equipment as well. 

For businesses, you likely have computers, a printer and fax machine, security cameras, point-of-sale devices, etc. Perhaps you have a refrigerator and microwave in the break room. 

And let’s not forget lighting! You have lights on throughout the day. Even if they’re small, they’re using electricity. 

It all adds up — especially if you forget to turn off the lights or the TV. But thankfully, today’s smart-building devices make it easier to control your electronics and appliances. This can save you money — and it’s much more convenient, too!

Read on for some lighting ideas, automation tech, and other ways to make a smart home or business a reality!

Smart Plugs and Power Strips

Did you know that lights, electronics, and other devices are drawing power even when they’re not “on”? This is called “standby” power, which can take up to 5-10 percent of your overall energy consumption

So if you leave your TV or lamp plugged in, it could be costing you money. But it’s obviously a pain to go around unplugging everything you’re not using at the moment.

Smart plugs and power strips offer a solution. They act as a buffer between the device and the outlet. When the smart plug is “off,” it doesn’t take any electricity.

You can control smart plugs remotely and put them on a schedule. They usually work with apps or smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. 

Some smart plugs can also measure energy usage, so you can identify the “power hogs” that are increasing your bill. You can even configure them to automatically shut off when they detect the device is idle.

Smart Light Bulbs

You probably know that LED lighting uses a fraction of what incandescent and fluorescent bulbs take. But did you know that you can also get Wi-Fi-enabled LED bulbs? 

These smart bulbs let you control lighting for overhead fixtures, which can’t be plugged into a smart outlet. Plus, you often get some extra features, such as the ability to change the light’s color or brightness. And of course, you can schedule the light to turn on or off whenever you like.

Imagine having your lamps automatically switch to a warm hue as you get ready for bed, or being able to dim the light from the convenience of your smartphone.

Smart lighting is a great option for businesses, which typically need a lot of lights on throughout the day. Easily program your lights to turn off at closing time and switch to your security lights. 

Smart Thermostats

Who hasn’t forgotten to adjust the AC before you leave for work? The U.S. Department of Energy recommends turning it back 7-10 percent from its normal setting. 

Programmable thermostats are nothing new, but nowadays, they can integrate with your overall smart-building system. Smart thermostats have several key benefits:

  • provide energy usage data so you know which thermostat setting saves you the most energy and money
  • allow you to remotely control the AC and heat in your building 
  • help you build a daily schedule that works best for you

Smart Blinds

One of the easiest ways to keep your home or office building cool is to block the sun — especially during the afternoon when it’s brightest. 

You can use smart tech to automatically raise and lower your window shades. For example, you know that your dining room will be hit by bright sun as dusk approaches. Imagine having shades that roll down on their own at that time. 

Or let’s say you want your exterior lights to come on at sunset. That time changes throughout the year, but your smart automation system can adjust it on its own — no need for you to go in and reprogram the lights!

Smart-Building Tech for Smarter Energy Usage

The key is automation: by letting your smart-building system handle your plugs, lights, and climate control, you can make sure they’re only running when they need to. This can help lower your electricity usage and save you money. Plus, it’s so much easier than constantly switching devices on and off!

Need help setting up your electrical system for smart tech? Want expert ideas on how to use smart lighting and more? Learn how Pat Myers Electric can help.