Moving towards “House 3.0” thanks to home automation

electronical devices home automation new technologies energy efficiencyWhereas the government starts resorting to energy efficiency schemes to lower the country’s energy bill (as it was stated, for instance, during the conference on environmental issues on September 9th), the sector’s professionals offer ever more innovative solutions. Residential housing, in particular, can be made more energy efficient through a series of interventions. Households have become increasingly familiar with the issue of insulation, but they can also cut their energy consumption thanks to home-automated equipment.

A fast-growing market

Home automation, also known as domotics (from Latin “domus”, house, and “automatic”) can be defined as “a set of techniques aiming at integrating safety, energy management, communication, etc. into a domestic automated system” (translated from Larousse dictionary). Home automation thus consists in electronic equipment able to program, automate and remotely control different energy flows within a housing unit. A study issued by the Xerfi consulting firm in September 2011 shows that the home automation market grew by 6% in the last ten years.

Home automation to improve energy efficiency

Ventilation, lighting and domestic appliances alike can all be programmed and remotely controlled. This allows not only to assess a building’s energy consumption, but also to manage and adjust it more adequately (as the sector’s professionals suggest with EE1 and EE2 solutions).

Concretely, such systems or schemes enable to interconnect electronic equipment in order to optimize its management and use. They include a control system, a device receiving commands and an interface box. There are two main ways of implementing such a network: appliances can either be wired or connected to the central computer via radio frequency.

By automating your daily routine, domotics will for instance switch off your lights in case you forget to do it yourself; the same goes with heating and some energy-intensive domestic appliances, even when they are on standby mode. Home automation is so far relatively costly and therefore still uncommon. However, given the energy savings it can yield (from 15% to 50% according to installations and brands), it offers promising prospects both in economic and environmental terms. According to a study conducted by the market intelligence company ABI Research, total market volume should reach 11.8 billion euros in 2015.

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