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Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Home Energy Efficiency

Posted July 25, 2019

Artificial intelligence is redefining what it means to be energy efficient in the home. At one time, energy efficiency was achieved simply by buttoning up, sealing cracks and by purchasing energy-efficient appliances. Now, energy efficiency has been taken to a whole new level. By anticipating the needs of homeowners and by taking in data through sensors, artificial intelligence makes it possible to maintain comfort in the home without wasting any energy.

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Knowing what artificial intelligence is capable of and where it’s going in the future can help keep a home modern, comfortable and as efficient as possible. At this time, artificial intelligence takes the form of many automated appliances and fixtures. Home AI is arguably still in its infancy stages, so there is much room for improvement and optimization. However, that is not to say that this technology is not effective.

To date, smart thermostats are the most widely-available and intelligent form of all smart devices. Many types of smart thermostats take readings to track air temperature and the location and behaviors of the homeowner. Smart thermostats know the day and time, when the homeowner is home, when the homeowner is away, and when the homeowner is returning. What’s more, smart thermostats can learn. After just a few days, most smart thermostats can determine what temperatures the homeowner prefers, and at what times. By following the behaviors of the homeowner, the smart thermostat can implement temperature changes that align with the homeowner’s needs.

Home assistants also have great potential to learn the needs and behaviors of households. Multiple companies have created home assistants that have voice recognition software. These devices often communicate with other smart devices in the home, increasing their ease-of-use. Home assistants also do things like look up recipes, play music and talk to the homeowner, as needed. At this time, few other smart devices are as advanced as smart thermostats. But one day, smart blinds, smart locks, smart garage door openers and other smart products may also learn to be as smart and efficient.

How Does AI Help with Energy Efficiency?

“Smart” homes not only determine when to turn things on, but also determine when to turn things off. Imagine you’re a homeowner who likes to come home to a cool house on summer evenings after a long day at work, but you work unusual, hard to predict hours. This makes setting a programmable thermostat an unrealistic way to ensure that your home will always be the right temperature when you get there. Some people, under these circumstances, might leave their home’s thermostat running to cool the house no matter what the time of day. This wastes energy in the daytime, when the person is not at home and therefore not benefiting from the cooler temperature setting.

A person with a smart thermostat does not need to leave the air conditioner running to ensure that their home will be cool when they get there. A smart thermostat tracks the activity of the homeowner, knows the homeowner’s preferences, and adjusts the temperature accordingly. Not a single amp of electricity is wasted running the air conditioner for longer than is needed. Similarly, smart blinds and curtains could open and close depending on the desired temperature of the home and the amount of sun directed toward a room.

The Future of AI at Home

Someday, a home may know when the homeowner wakes up in the mornings and when it’s time to start the coffee maker preparing coffee without any user input. The home may know when it’s time to service the air conditioner, and the home will book an appointment with a repair person accordingly. The home will sense when it is time to replace batteries in the smoke detector, and will remind the homeowner to do so. Waste will be cut out of the equation. The homeowner will do everything that is needed to be done to maintain the house, or the home itself will do the maintenance it for the homeowner. This saves the homeowner money and can prolong the life of the appliances, which reduces waste overall.

Smart devices and artificial intelligence are a long way off from the future just described, but someday AI will make homes entirely different from the way they are today. By making life easier for the homeowner, AI devices will make it easier for the homeowner to think of new ways to save energy and make their home more efficient. Modernizing your home now makes it easier to keep up with technology changes as they occur. Fortunately, it only takes a small financial investment to install AI in your home. Smart thermostats retail for around $200 or $250, depending on the brand and model. Installation from an HVAC professional helps ensure that the thermostat will function properly.

Other pieces of AI equipment like home assistants also cost in the hundred to two hundred dollar range, so for most homeowners, they’re affordable. Installing fixtures like smart thermostats can increase your home’s value while also making life in your home more comfortable. Smart devices are on the leading edge of technology, and as such, they’re always being reviewed in online technology and consumer review magazines. If you’re interested in learning more about installing a smart device in your home, start reading online reviews. Doing research will help you determine which products are best fit your home and lifestyle.

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