From a customizable, voice-activated virtual assistant to a garbage can with technology that will give you a personal grocery list based on what you throw out – technology is booming – and it’s no wonder we’re learning how to unleash the ultimate in comfort and convenience around our homes.

While “smart” may be the adjective you only use to describe your middle school honors student – it’s been widely used to describe homes that are using home wireless networks, connected devices, and now, your home’s electricity consumption, to make houses more efficient and environmentally-friendly. Whether you already have a full smart home system or just a few small gadgets like a smart thermostat or surveillance camera, homeowners are finding that “smart home” devices are cheaper than they originally thought and more cost-effective than other home upgrades – ultimately saving consumers over 10% or roughly $100 per year for the average household.

Let’s take a look at the top four reasons why you should consider upping your home’s IQ in 2017:

1. Fully integrate your home.

Odds are that if your home has solar panels on the rooftop, you’re going to want to understand how much energy they’re generating and your overall energy consumption. Full-service solar providers like Crius Solar are working to amplify their customers’ energy savings with customized monitoring reports. And that’s great news for current and future solar customers who are looking to examine their energy usage on a monthly or even weekly basis.

Solar systems can also combine with smart home features, such as light occupancy sensors, energy usage systems, and programmable thermostats to control and adjust that power to keep everything running effortlessly. Not to mention, other typical smart home automation features seamlessly integrated around your home — like refrigerators, televisions, dishwashers, and other electronics and appliances — can be controlled from a single device.

2. Let your home get to “know” you.

Gone are the days of adjusting the thermostat throughout the day to save those few extra pennies. With numerous devices on the market already, smart thermostats like those from ecobee can teach you about your daily heating or cooling habits, quickly self-programming a schedule that matches your living patterns.

The key is providing your smart thermostat with sufficient data to learn patterns, which has been shown to save customers an average of 23% on their heating and cooling costs. With only a few data points, the thermostat can continue to manage the energy usage throughout your home. Motion sensing technologies, tied with a smart thermostat, can determine if a room is occupied and help reduce a room’s energy costs.

3. Pull the plug on high energy bills.

WiFi-enabled lightbulbs, often called smart bulbs, which typically use about 25%-80% less energy, can screw into any standard socket in your home and communicate with smartphone or desktop apps to tell you when they’re on or off – as well as which spot in the house is using them the most often. Coupled with energy monitoring reports from a smart thermostat, consumers can easily find ways to improve their energy habits while maintaining a comfortable environment.

Something’s not working properly? Temperature too high or too low? Regular maintenance reminders from a smart thermostat and alerts based on your system’s performance are readily accessible through these devices that can be delivered to your smart phone, tablet or computer.

4. Increase the value of your home.

Just like solar panels have been shown to increase the value of your home, smart technology can attract buyers to a sale. In fact, “energy-­efficient” was second only to “safe community” on the list of attributes that would most influence a purchase decision, according to the National Association of Home Builders. And the numbers don’t lie – studies show that over 45 percent of homeowners have owned or invested in some type of smart-home technology.

So whether you take simple steps or go solar to make your home more energy-efficient, you’ll see the money saving power of a “smart home.” A holistic energy solutions provider like Crius Solar is always working to determine new ways to get you the most value out of your energy system, and, in turn, your home. And, over time, “smart home” savings will typically pay for the cost of improvements and put money back in your pocket — all while you do your part to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.

So before you think about cutting back on dinners out or skimping on your next family vacation to save money, you may want to look right inside your own home to discover where you may be wasting resources—and consequently, money!

Ready to find out how “energy smart” your home is?

Talk to one of our energy experts to find out how smart your home is and how much you could potentially save by making smarter energy choices for your home.

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