A home automation device attached the underside of a white bench top with wooden brown chairs behind it

Wondering what home automation actually is?

Home automation is can be defined as a series of smart devices in a home that are set up to run to a particular schedule, or interact with each other in automated ways. 

Although a home energy management system (HEMS) is not strictly necessary to automate a home, it definitely makes the process easier and promises better outcomes than a piecemeal approach. Increasingly affordable, interactive and versatile, HEMS like carbonTRACK are the future of home automation everywhere.

Home automation for energy efficiency & energy bill savings

Throughout the course of the day, devices in your home use different amounts of electricity at different times. If you’re like most people, you probably have little idea about which devices tend to use the most energy, or when they use it – never mind whether they’re being put to optimal use from an energy-efficiency and money-saving perspective.

Home automation begins with a high degree of energy awareness. Anyone interested in home automation should first gain insight into their energy consumption behaviour. An energy monitoring system may be able to deliver these insights via its user interface (usually in the form of an app or web portal), but a good HEMS will offer the same – plus the ability to take control as well.

Armed with their insights, homeowners can program operating schedules for each device, or take manual action to ensure that devices in the home are being used in the most effective way possible. This usually means minimising unnecessary energy use, or making the most of solar & battery energy when available. Additionally, some HEMS (including carbonTRACK) may also deploy machine learning to make the automation process even more automatic and efficient.

In the ideal situation, home automation delivers energy bill savings and a reduced environmental footprint with little fuss on the part of the homeowner.

Home automation for security and convenience

While most interest in home automation is sparked by concern over energy costs, security and convenience can also be a focus. As a security-related example, a homeowner may opt to set lights or even a television on a timer while on holidays to deter would-be thieves. with regard to convenience, a homeowner might put their kettle on a timer to have hot water ready every morning at 8am.

The motion sensor component of a home automation package clipped onto a modern wooden wall

Generally speaking, it is possible to achieve both security and convenience goals by purchasing devices with timing functionality built in, or even to purchase timers that sit between the device and wall socket. However, a good home energy management system should enable the homeowner to achieve their security and convenience goals as a bonus to energy bill savings – and all at a reasonable price.

So if you’re looking to automate your home only for security and convenience, it may be worthwhile to take a step back and consider installing a full-fledged HEMS instead of buying devices one at a time – in the end, you’re likely to save more money.

A brunette woman controls her home automation software from her phone in a cafe

In summary: The benefits of home automation

Home automation is a great way to:

  1. Save money by running devices on timers (or algorithms) to reduce unnecessary energy consumption and maximise ‘energy effectiveness’ (particularly if you are on time of use billing or have solar and/or battery storage)
  2. Increase the security of your home by enabling you to run lights & devices on timers while you’re away
  3. Make your own life easier by switching devices on and off automatically – even if you’re not home
carbonTRACK is a first-of-class home energy management system, letting you do all your home automating in one place. Read more about how it works.

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