You probably already have a Smart-phone, and thinking about buying a Smart-TV while you read an article about Smart Cities… go further, and make your house a Smart-home!
No worries, no need to change your elegant/classical/modern/cozy place into a geek starship full of cables and switches: it is easier than you think, and can be done a little bit at a time. Not only will you save on bills, but you will get a more comfortable environment to live and enjoy. It all depends on how you live your house, so just focus on your habits and needs.
Here are some examples of what I did when moved into my new house:
– corridor and stair lighting automatically switch on when someone walks thru, and then off when no one is there (tip: if it is not already integrated into the bulb, placing the movement sensor at low level will let your cat enjoy disco all night long. Useful against potential burglar, but only when you’re away). Lights also have a daylight sensor I can set, so they can activate only when it’s dark (rain, fog, … and night of course). LED (or at least halogen ones), are best. The cost is compensated by duration (from 3 to 25 times more!), and consumption
– garden irrigation system does not start when it rains or there is already enough humidity in the air (tip: put the humidity sensor out of reach of the water sprayer, like a wall or porch). Outside light bulbs have daylight sensors so they automatically switch off in the morning. Those in the garden have also a motion sensor, acting as deterrence in case of a night intruder
– blinds automatically close on living room large windows when it rains, so I do not have to clean them every summer day just because of sudden showers (tip: avoid using a wind sensor, at it is useless and really annoying. Use it with awnings instead.)
– all major appliances have electricity control: so when the washing machine and dishwasher are operating, roast is cooking in the oven and I am using the hairdryer, I do not have to worry about my power carrier interrupting the supply (due to my momentary extra-consumption) and spoiling my roast. First the dishwasher goes on hold, if not enough then the washing machine, and when I am done with the hairdryer they automatically return to work. Dinner is ready in time, and so is my hair.
– each room recognizes temperature and I can program it differently depending on who is using it and when (bedrooms get warmer on winter evenings, studio during the day but not on the weekends, etc)
Your time now, what would you prefer?