The home of the future anticipates your needs and adjusts the environment accordingly.
Blinds are lowered to maintain the indoor temperature, lights are turned down while the TV is on, and sensors send out an alert if the washing machine is leaking water.
Without a doubt, smart technology is no longer just a buzzword. But for a long time, I hesitated to “smartify” our home because I simply did not know where to start. What are the technical requirements, and how would I even connect the blinds to a network?
Meet Smartacus, the smart home technology for Switzerland
I love having a project, and smart home technology was just the perfect topic to research. The further down the rabbit hole I went, the more I realized that there is more to it than home automation. Sure, it is fun to get a text message every time the mail man opens the mailbox.
But the deciding factor for me to invest in smart home technology turned out to be energy monitoring. To be able to watch the live power consumption and work towards reducing it was the ultimate motivation.
Smartacus is a start-up venture by Zürich based Energie 360. They offer all the tools and services in order to go from conventional to smart. The quirky Roman in their “how to” video ultimately convinced me that Smartacus is the way to go. Their solution places just as much focus on home automation as on energy monitoring:
In order to get started, Smartacus coordinated the installation with a certified electrician.
During one afternoon, the electrician installed a central energy measurement device as well as intelligent switches for our lights and blinds. All of these smart devices are orchestrated by a router which sits inside our electric box. Here is Shuffle with the router after the unboxing:
For everyday monitoring or manipulating of smart devices, all we need is a smartphone with the Smartacus app:
Our package also included a physical remote control with four programmable buttons. For instance, I programmed one of the buttons as “movie night”, meaning that the living room lights will dim and all the blinds will close automatically.
After six months of use, we can already see some trends in our energy consumption. Sure, the seasonality has to be factored in as energy use depends on the month of year, the hours of natural sun light, etc. But still, the Smartacus reports help us to calculate the effective costs of running the dishwasher midday as opposed to overnight. (Lessons were learned and we are keen to reducing our impact on the electric grid.)
Here are some helpful energy saving tips from the experts at Smartacus:
- There is no need to preheat the oven. Despite the longer duration of baking, you can save 20 percent energy.
- Never place hot pans in the fridge. Let them cool outside to save the fridge from cooling.
- Lower the temperature in rooms that are used sparingly. We do this in our walk-in closet, for instance, where we keep the floor heat to a minimum.
- Use a special power adapter to measure the consumption of your various devices. Who knows, but your aquarium lights or inkjet printer might be the true power guzzlers in your home.
- Replace old light bulbs with LED bulbs.
Please reach out if you have any questions about life in a smart home! We would be glad to help you along the way of smartifying your own home.
(Disclaimer: For the purpose of this review, Smartacus has provided a home automation package.)