Top Trends in Smart, Connected Homes

Connect to your home with smart electronics

By Christine Porretta

The high-tech home is evolving with a range of options available for gadget lovers and budget watchers alike. From smart thermostats to smart appliances, modern electronics can help you turn your house into a cozy yet cost- and energy-efficient pad. Here's how.

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Looking for First-Class Systems

Solar Roller - Remote Lift + Cassette
Smith + Noble
  • Invest in motorized shading, says Dave Pedigo, senior director of learning and emerging technologies for the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association. These cutting edge shades will passively cool your home by automatically dropping in front of the windows when sunlight hits them. Natural cooling means that you won't need to use your air conditioning as much.
  • Try a smart thermostat, such as the Lennox icomfort Wi-Fi, that works with any iComfort-enabled heating and cooling unit to allow you to remotely program and regulate your household temperature from a smartphone, tablet, or computer, whether you're home or on vacation.
  • Explore a learning thermostat that adapts to your needs by intelligently tracking your heating and cooling preferences and schedule and automatically adjusting your home's temperature based on your household usage patterns. Always check first if the smart thermostat you want to buy is compatible with your heating and cooling units.
  • Consider a hub approach if you want to aggregate your home-comfort and energy-saving systems into one uniform platform, explains Pedigo. They can measure power, energy consumption, water, and gas usage, he adds. This system would either require custom installation or a package from a service provider of these networked options, such as Verizon or Comcast.

Seeking Small-Scale Solutions

icomfort Wi-Fi Thermostat
  • Get Internet-controlled surge protectors or power strips, says Pedigo. Not only can you manage them online or with an app, but they allow you to entirely shut off connected electronic devices instead of leaving them individually plugged into outlets, which suck power on standby.
  • For lighting control, try an occupancy sensor, suggests Pedigo. Because it's a motion-activated light switch, it's naturally designed to save or reduce energy consumption without you having to remember to flip a switch, he says.
  • To save on energy costs, check out devices such as home energy monitors that you can clamp onto your meter, advises Pedigo. They will measure your entire energy consumption by day, week, month, or according to other time periods, and then provide a report that helps you pinpoint and resolve where and when the biggest energy drains occur in your home. 

Interested in Smart Appliances

Smart appliances, smart meters, and the Smart Grid are all connected. The grid is a government initiative to share energy among households. Using real-time data, homes will communicate back and forth with a smart meter and identify when it's cheapest to operate an appliance based on peak and slow periods when energy is used, explains Pedigo. And it goes a step further: Within homes, smart appliances (such as a dishwasher and a washing machine) will communicate, sharing information on when each is using or has finished using energy, in an effort to make calculated decisions to reduce energy consumption and costs.

Currently, about 25 million U.S. homes (or 20 percent) have smart meters, Pedigo says. Once the Smart Grid is fully up and running, homeowners will truly enjoy the benefits of the smart appliances purchased now for their smart spaces.

This is a sponsored article created by on behalf of Lennox. Want a greener home? Watch these tips, provided by Lennox, on choosing ENERGY STAR appliances.

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