Our increasing use of home automation technology through the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential for substantial energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, according to a new study released today by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM. The study The Energy Savings Potential of Home Automation Technology finds widespread adoption of home automation products such as temperature, circuit and lighting control, if used for energy savings purposes, could collectively avoid up to 100 million tons of CO2 emissions and reduce total residential primary energy consumption by as much as 10 percent – that savings is more than consumer electronics’ share of residential primary energy consumption (8.4 percent) according to a separate CTA study.
“This research proves the innovation consumer technology delivers into our hands and homes through the Internet of Things can significantly reduce our carbon footprint – whether that’s the household energy we use on our own or the carbon emissions our country produces,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association. “With the touch of a screen or button, we can control and manage our homes more easily and effectively than ever – from virtually anywhere in the world – and enjoy all the cost savings and environmental benefits consumer technology offers.”
CTA’s study reports the overall U.S. technical energy savings potential from several individual approaches ranges from 0.3 to 1.1 quadrillion BTUs (quads) of primary energy consumption, or from one to five percent of total residential primary energy consumption. The study’s findings, which represent the best current estimates of achievable savings, highlight several areas where home automation could deliver energy savings, including connected thermostats, HVAC zoning, and control of window shades, circuits and lighting.
“This study is the first of its kind – showing how our increased use of several types of connected devices and systems can decrease our overall home energy use,” said Douglas Johnson, vice president of technology policy, CTA. “While the concept and practice of home automation have been around for decades, the continuous reduction of installation costs means more and more consumers are able to access and benefit from this technology. And home automation tech delivers potential benefits to utilities as well, such as enhanced demand response capabilities and the intelligent segmentation of homes – both of which would eventually lower consumers’ costs.”
Actual energy savings depends strongly on how users choose to control their automated household devices and equipment, the study found. Intelligent features, when activated, can enable greater savings. Smart thermostats, for instance, can learn when specific rooms in a home do and do not need conditioning to save energy without sacrificing comfort. Savings could be even higher when automated devices are used together, as with whole-home control.
Sales of many home automation technologies are projected to rise over the next few years, according to CTA’s U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts. Consumer trends have shown that the primary motivator behind purchasing automation products, such as smart blinds, thermostats and light fixtures, has been for convenience, security and/or entertainment. The study found that further increasing the marketability of these products to homeowners by promoting their energy savings potential could lead to more energy savings nationwide.
The study was conducted by the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE and commissioned by CTA. Fraunhofer CSE identified 17 candidate home automation approaches and selected five to study in depth, based on initial energy savings estimates and feedback from members of CTA’s TechHome Division, energy efficiency program administrators and developers. The findings recommended pursuing targeted field studies of sufficient scale to refine these energy savings estimates, especially for approaches whose savings depend more strongly on occupant behavior. The entire study, The Energy Savings Potential of Home Automation Technology, is available online.
Through CTA’s website GreenerGadgets.org, consumers can calculate their tech devices’ approximate home energy usage and find tips to help reduce their energy costs. For a comprehensive look at the consumer technology industry’s ongoing efforts toward improved overall sustainability and efficiency, please see The Consumer Technology Association 2015 Sustainability Report.
About Consumer Technology Association:
Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM is the trade association representing the $287 billion U.S. consumer technology industry. More than 2,200 companies - 80 percent are small businesses and startups; others are among the world's best known brands - enjoy the benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research, technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. The Consumer Technology Association also owns and produces CES® - the world's gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technology. Profits from CES are reinvested into CTA's industry services.
About Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE:
Fraunhofer CSE is an applied R&D laboratory dedicated to building tomorrow’s energy future today. Our staff’s expertise in solar photovoltaics, smart energy-efficient buildings, and grid technologies provides a platform for deeply integrating distributed energy resources through collaboration with private companies, government entities, and academic institutions. Fraunhofer CSE is one of seven centers of Fraunhofer USA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit subsidiary of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Europe's largest contract R&D organization.
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