Common hurdles for decarbonising today's smart homes
Principal Software Engineer (PTL)
Decarbonizing homes has its challenges, with limitations that impact average homeowners in terms of affordability, practicality, and technological feasibility.
This post describes the problems, the reasons, and how smart technology can help us overcome these limitations to balance both local and regional energy networks.
Reviewing the many options, articles and evidence on de-carbonisation can be a daunting experience. However, I have found a useful rule of thumb is “Any action that you can take that reduces your environmental impact in the medium to long term is a positive step”.
Below is a sample of the options that can be utilised either separately or in conjunction, with the aim of decarbonising your home.
Electrification is an effective means of decarbonisation, but it has its limitations, such as the high demand for power during peak times. Installing smart technology, like Grid Curtailment, can help reduce power consumption automatically by conforming to the "G100" standard. Grid Curtailment is a smart technology that automatically reduces power consumption to prevent individual circuits or mains house feeds from exceeding safe maximum demand.
This technology can be applied to less time-sensitive or less current-sensitive circuits like immersion heaters, EV chargers, and home storage batteries. For instance, electric vehicles (EVs) and immersion heaters can be programmed to consume energy at different rates depending on the time of day, weather conditions, and the energy available on the grid. This enables homeowners to balance their energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint. The adoption of smart technology requires homeowners to assess short-term costs versus long-term benefits and weigh money against environmental impact.
Two deductions made from my experience in home improvements are:
- Running an air source heat pump significantly reduces the carbon footprint of heating by at least 73%*
- Running a typical EV significantly reduces the carbon footprint of driving by at least 65%**
Decarbonising homes requires a holistic approach that balances energy consumption and environmental impact. The new age of smart meters enables homeowners to gain a more granular view of their consumption, which in turn enables them to see what changes reap the most benefits.
There are many options out there, including installing a heat pump or focusing on smart technology. However, homeowners need to assess the short-term costs versus long-term benefits and weigh the costs incurred, and affordability for their lifestyle, against environmental impact when adopting smart technology.