Smart homes crop up far more in conversations about the latest gadgets than they do when talking about energy saving or environmental benefits. But as well as having a place in the futuristic new homes imagined by science fiction, smart technology may help to lower the environmental impact of the homes we live in today. With energy efficiency becoming an increasing preoccupation, smart technology's potential to help will be just as welcome as its ability to make our lives easier.
This project has looked at smart features, such as smart electricity, gas and water meters and intelligent heating and lighting controls, and the impressive claims made about their energy and resource savings. Some companies already promote the environmental benefits of smart features by the area is still relatively unexplored and many claims vary greatly or are hard to verify. This project provides an overview of relevant smart features and explores the nature and extent of their environmental benefits.
It is clear that questions need to be answered before smart features can be meaningfully incorporated into policy mechanisms that aim to improve the environmental impact of homes, but it is equally clear that they do have a role to play.
With this in mind, the project has made some recommendations for action. These include a call for further research into the area in order to better understand the benefits that smart features offer, as well as a call for progress on smart electricity meters as a critical first step towards smarter homes overall. The project also looks at the different policy mechanisms that smart features can be incorporated into, to ensure that we can take advantage of the benefits they offer when seeking to address challenges such as the provision of zero carbon homes by 2016.
The report launch and event
The project report, Teaching homes to be green: smart homes and the environment, was launched on 20 November at the Royal Society by the Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Minister of State for Competitiveness, Dr Howard Porter from BEAMA and the Smart Housing Group and Alan Kell, from the Centre of Excellence for Intelligence in Buildings also spoke at the event.
For further details on both this strand of work and the event please contact Faye Scott.
Green Alliance would like to thank Royal Sun Alliance and The Environment Agency for supporting this project.
Press release - 20 November 2007
Housing a low carbon society