Coping with dizzying bills using smart devices

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Although today there is an increasing propensity towards renewable sources for a zero-emission energy future, modern society is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels to produce energy.
However, the impact of global warming has led many countries to take significant decisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, developing new sustainable or carbon-negative technologies that are able to remove carbon dioxide from the air.

In addition to this, there is also this phenomenon closely related to the excessive use of coal, oil, and natural gas: the energy crisis.
The biggest factor that has led to this crisis is the lack of alternative, inexhaustible and non-polluting sources to meet the ever-increasing need of energy.

This macro-scenario, therefore, involves multiple problems, first the increase in the prices of primary energy sources which in turn affects users with the increase in electricity and gas bills.

 

What causes the electricity and gas prices to go up?

The increase in electricity and gas price is mainly linked to two factors: the increase in costs of raw materials and the simultaneous increase in the costs of companies that produce energy.
The increase in price of a good, however, occurs when demand exceeds supply. This is the case of gas.
The sharp surge of price of natural gas has also affected the price of oil, as many countries have had to find substitutes for coal and gas.

In Europe, the demand for gas has increased for several reasons:

  • The erosion of stocks due to the long last winter.
  • The sudden high demand due to resumption of production activities after the lockdown and the slowdown due to the pandemic.
  • The growing usage of gas to produce electricity in order to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.
  • The reduction of exports by Russia to Europe in favor of Asian demand.
  • The lack of winds in the Northern and Baltic area which penalized countries such as England that are heavily invested in wind and solar power.

In Italy, natural gas is used to produce about 40% of electricity. Consequently, the significant increase on its price is reflected on electricity’s cost.

As in other European countries, also in our country, the increases have been translated into the prices of electricity and heating. About 80% of the increase in electricity are attributable to natural gas, while no more than 20% is linked to the increase in emission permits. The increase in the price of natural gas is also the cause for the rise of domestic heating cost, as it is the main component.

In addition, domestic consumption has also been affected by the recent pandemic that has changed our lifestyles by introducing work from home, smart working, thus increasing domestic consumption.

IoT: the technology to defend against rising bills.

The context described is therefore the cause of the rise in electricity and gas prices and results in dramatic increase in the bills that users find themselves having to pay.

There is an increasing need to find solutions that can reduce costs and thus contain expenses. The right technology, applied in the correct way, can have an important impact on the energy efficiency of homes to reduce waste and achieve good energy savings, also in favor of the environment.

Smart home tech device IoT House automation domotics panoramic banner. Connected thermostat with app icons showing temperature and heat cool adjustment.

As the winter approaches, it is good to know how to save on gas and electricity consumption for heating. The advanced smart thermostats allow you to better manage the temperature in the house, keeping the temperature constant to reduce consumption, thus saying goodbye to the prehistoric use of “on and off”. In addition to this, the smart appliances feature systems with the functionality of monitoring energy consumption and remote control via smartphone.

The use of special equipment, such as smart metering, installed inside the electrical panel, wirelessly transmits, through LoRaWAN technology, real-time data on the use of electricity. This system allows the user to check consumption, intervene on their habits and adapt them to real needs. It is an intelligent system for measuring consumption through remote reading and remote management systems of electricity, gas, water, and heat meters connected to the network.

Benefits and features obtained from smart devices

The main benefit of a smart and connected home is efficiency, i.e., a thrifty and virtuous use of energy which, if self-produced, reaches maximum sustainability. Self-production and efficiency are the two ways in which energy savings can be achieved, which translates into economic savings for users.

The solutions to reduce consumption in smart homes offer various functions that can be activated remotely via app and / or voice commands. The features offered are:

  • control of the system and electricity consumption
  • switching on and off the lighting of the rooms with the possibility of adjusting their tone and / or intensity
  • switching on and off household appliances with the possibility of managing their consumption by activating them in more convenient tariff regimes
  • management of air conditioning in terms of cooling and heating
  • geolocation to communicate our presence in the home to the system and therefore allow it to perform the energy saving functions without neglecting the comfort we desire.

Smart Home solutions create a local home network consisting of a series of smart devices pertaining to a hub located in the same house or to a remote server. The connection of this home network to the Internet allows the management and control of connected devices from a single interface and also with voice commands, thanks to the Apps available on most popular online stores and can support the most popular virtual assistants.

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