Have you ever been at your desk at work only to suddenly realize that you’ve left something cooking in the oven? Or could it be that you forgot to turn on your security alarm before you left? In the old days, you’d be zooming back home to check on things. Not anymore.
Where the smart home was once merely a figment of the imagination, this is clearly no longer the case. Smart homes are the future, and the future is nearly here. More and more, homeowners are making choices to help them save over the long term, and with an eye to current trends, have started automating some of their electronics at home.
On the manufacturing side, producers are racing to develop technological advances in locks, doors, windows, and many other things to compete for the growing consumer dem and for “smart” technology. While the industry has yet to develop to a point where there’s a universal method of communication among all the different home devices, the connected dream is well on its way to becoming de rigueur in every home.
What spurs this development is several inescapable facts about energy and energy consumption that the average American consumer is faced with. You’re probably well aware that our energy sources are rapidly diminishing. In fact, the Department of Energy has already predicted that in the next two decades, energy consumption will rise by 45 percent for electricity, 62 percent for natural gas, and 33 percent for oil— and that energy supplies will not be sufficient to meet the dem and. Meanwhile, regular consumers like you and me will have to deal with the higher cost of energy.
It’s no wonder that there is now a concerted effort to find and develop technologies that will effectively address the energy consumption issues with which we are now faced. While most efforts are directed towards increasing energy supply, a h andful of researchers have been working on “smart” ways to reduce energy consumption without us having to give up many of the modern-day conveniences we are used to.
Among the technologies already on the market today are smart windows—no, not Microsoft Windows the operating system, but something just as exciting. We’re talking here of cutting-edge technology for the home: windows that control heat and light. These windows are designed to help reduce the cost of lighting, heating, and cooling with the push of a button or the twist of a knob. With about 2 percent of national energy consumption losses attributed to the current crop of residential windows available on the market, this technology has the potential to save American consumers billions of dollars.
In Part 2, read about how smart windows could work to reduce your energy consumption and save you a significant amount of money.