Smart homes use energy more wisely and efficiently

The average American home devotes most of its energy use to heating and cooling practices, which can become quite costly if energy efficiency is not important to a homeowner. Fortunately for these homeowners, emerging technology that helps create smart homes may soon take away the responsibility of ensuring home energy efficiency.

One of the first tenets of smart homes that have recently hit the market are are smart thermostats – such as the Nest – which adjust the temperature of the home based on weather patterns and the homeowner's regular preferences. As such, homeowners are less likely to waste energy, for example, by forgetting to turn down their thermostats during the day when they are away at work.

Future developments include light sensors that react to movement, automatic windows and drapes and even a lawn moisture sensor to help operate sprinkler systems at the necessary times.

Many of these technologies may appear to be so advanced that homeowners could be intimidated by them at first. Experts hope that as they are exposed to these systems, they should be more willing to adopt these systems.

"If you have a programmable thermostat, you have the beginnings of a smart home," Washington State University's Diane Cook told Science Daily. "What we're trying to do is get the home to take over the job of programming it. We want your home as a whole to think about what you need and use the components in it to do the right thing."

Of course, homeowners do not have to wait to reduce their utility bills using these advanced systems. An energy audit, led by a D.C. home inspector, can identify areas of the home in need of energy improvements. New techniques for reducing wasteful energy use are created constantly, so homeowners may need to rely on these professionals to determine what specific reforms can be made.