ARLINGTON, Va. — The 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 by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™.

The study, The Energy Savings Potential of Home Automation Technology, finds that 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 — savings that are more than consumer electronics’ share of residential primary energy consumption (8.4 percent), according to a separate CTA study.

CTA’s new study reports the overall U.S. technical energy savings potential from several individual approaches ranges from 0.3 to 1.1 quadrillion Btu (quads) of primary energy consumption, or from 1 to 5 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.

The study was conducted by the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE and commissioned by CTA. The entire study, The Energy Savings Potential of Home Automation Technology, is available online.

Publication date: 6/3/2016

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