16th March 2023

Tech News

How Smart Devices Can Reduce Energy Bills

Somerbys reduce bills 02

With energy prices high, many of our clients are looking for ways to reduce their usage and cut down on the cost of their monthly bills. While smart technology may not be able to protect us completely from the rising energy prices, at Somerbys IT, we’ve come up with a list of technology gadgets that not only help us understand how our energy is being used, but some devices can actually help us use less energy and save money.

Understand your energy usage – get a smart meter

Historically we’ve always known how much energy we’ve used each month, but it’s been difficult to understand what the exact breakdown looks like daily and what devices consume the most energy. Installing a smart meter can give you your energy usage in pretty much real-time. You may be surprised how much you use, and even more surprised by what uses the most energy (and pounds!).

When you’re armed with this information, you can see where you’re spending and work out where you can save money. Competitive tariffs are tough at the moment, but understanding your usage could help – even if it means taking shorter showers, or moving onto a dual-rate tariff and running your washing machine and dishwasher at night.

In the UK, smart meters are free. Have a look at the government website here and it will point you in the right direction.

Gain greater control of your heating – use a smart thermostat

One of the most useful smart technologies is the smart thermostat. By learning your schedule and when you are at home or away, the thermostat can create a more energy-efficient heating schedule and avoid heating an empty house. Additionally, it can adjust to the weather forecast, reducing heating on warmer days and keeping your home comfortable on colder mornings.

Some great examples of smart heating and thermostats that we use at Somerbys IT are the British Gas Hive and the Google Nest. Both offer home heating controls as well as smart home technologies.

Here’s a bright idea – swap to LED smart bulbs!

While LED lighting can offer savings over traditional incandescent bulbs, they also last significantly longer than their older cousins. Some last for over 10 years, so significant savings can be made just by transitioning from older-generation technologies to the latest smart LED bulbs.

Smart lighting also provides a second benefit… it can be controlled by other technologies like your phone and smart speaker, so you can easily turn your lights on or off, or dim them to use less energy. You can also set your lights on a specific schedule, so you have a safety net in case you accidentally leave one on in a less-used part of your house or when you go out.

One of the most popular LED smart bulbs is Philips Hue. At Somerbys IT we love Hue, which allows you to control lighting throughout the whole house, changing colours, setting schedules and even providing a little romantic mood lighting. :)

Be smart – get a clever plug!

So, do smart plugs save electricity or are they just a gimmick? The short answer is ‘yes, they do’. Although they consume energy to run because they need a constant wi-fi connection, the cost should be far less than what they save. They can turn table lamps, TVs and any other tech on and off inline with when you need them.

At Somerbys IT we all use different smart plugs. The main two are part of the Hive and Nest ecosystem mentioned previously, but some other great standalone products we’d recommend are Sonoff and TP Link.

Link everything up with smart speakers

Finally, the best way to utilise all the smart technologies we’ve discussed is to link them all together with a smart speaker. This allows you to take full advantage of all their functionality and save even more money!

Use Alexa or Google Skills to manage your smart lights, thermostat, water heater, and more. Treat the smart speaker as a hub for all your smart energy technologies and have a good boogie at the same time!

We love smart speakers, but Allan would only suggest the very expensive Linn speakers. For the rest of us, we use good old Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio.

Whatever smart technology you use… have fun, save money and reduce your carbon footprint too! If you find any great energy-saving technologies, do let us know.