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Here’s a smarter way to save money and energy in your home — Quartz

Here’s a smarter way to save money and energy in your home — Quartz

Forget about running around the house like a madman, turning off all the lights. Saving electricity at home is about to become much smarter. At CES 2020, the Las Vegas Consumer Electricity Expo, companies such as Schneider Electric, Legrand and Leviton shared the latest solutions for an eco-friendly residential life. The best part? You will not have to replace all the appliances.

Frigidios and smart thermostats can restore you to a fair amount, and the worst part is that they only address the power consumption at one time. But by improving the electrical panel, suggest these companies, you can track and manage energy consumption throughout the house.

There are several ways to go about this. The most basic approach is the smart monitor for the smarter home from Schneider Electric ($ 299), a wifi connected device that you can install in the electrical panel. (Schneider recommends installation by a licensed electrician.) With two clamp-on current sensors – it attaches to your main service cables – the monitor tracks your energy usage up to the individual device, identifying power-based electronics and models for use.

With the third-party Sense app, you can keep tabs on the electricity you use, setting goals and notifications throughout. You can also use voice commands to track your energy consumption through Amazon Alexa and Google Home integrations. For now, Schneider's home monitor is not compatible with Apple HomeKit, but both companies are part of the Zigbee Alliance, which creates open standards for smart home devices.

While the Schneider smart home monitor can help you keep track of your energy consumption, it doesn't let you turn on and off your devices, meaning you don't use the company's smart jacks. The smart energy solution from Legrand may cost a little more, but it is an additional step. Legrand intends to replace the parts of the old electrical panel with his own system, Drivia with Netatmo. The product launches in Europe this quarter, but the company has not yet announced its US availability.

Intelligent modules of Legrand, which can be installed directly in the electrical panel.

The Netatmo drive includes several different components: a contactor (MSRP: 100 €), a smart lock relay (70 €), a power meter (68 €) and a gateway module (75 €). Of course, the more you need, the more it will cost. Together, they allow users to track their electricity consumption, and to enable or disable devices through the Legrand Home + Control app, available on Android and iOS. The Legrand system also supports all three major voice assistants, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.

Neither Schneider Electric and Legrand's electrical panel solutions are on the market. Others, such as the Leviton Charging Center (price range: $ 200- $ 1,500) have come before, but there are pluses and minuses. Like Drivia, the Upload Center – supported by an Android and iOS app – allows users to individually enable or disable devices. However, it does not include voice assistant functions. The company is working to include these integrations "soon," said Greg Rhoades, director of residential marketing at Leviton. But even without voice assistant functions, Leviton is already available for purchase in the US, which makes it a happy environment between Schneider's smart clamps (which do not have the on / off function) and the future voice activated electric panel.

As you consider the strategy of home improvement, the electric panel seems to be the ideal place to start. It's not just a one-time upgrade, it's a change in your entire energy consumption.