In past blogs, we’ve written about the implications and possibilities for a much more “connected” home with common appliances and home systems.  These posts centered around the use of smart meters and smart grid technology to better analyze and manage energy usage in individual homes. This type of technology is making the home more connected than ever before, and smart meters aren’t the only point of interest in this field.


You may have seen recently the announcement that Google was making a major play at home energy and appliance management through their acquisition of Nest, a relative newcomer to the thermostat and smoke detector manufacturing industry. While we’ve noticed mixed performance when seeing these new devices in homes, it’s important to note that a general trend toward a more connected, “high-tech” and internet-enabled home is one that will become increasingly important in home energy and efficiency.


This “internet of things” trend refers to physical products become more connected through wireless internet signals, increasing their efficiency and bringing their control into the palm of the users’ hands. As mentioned above, the home energy industry and general home appliance industry is a big target for these types of technologies.


One great example of a connected thermostat and energy usage management system is the Trane Nexia™ Home Intelligence system. This technology, coupled with the Trane ComfortLink control system gives a homeowner access to home heating and cooling units through mobile apps, allowing management of these systems to extend beyond just the traditional home consoles. This system also allows homeowners to turn on and off lights when out of the home using their smartphones or computers. Homeowners can also set up alerts to receive text messages or email alerts letting them know it’s time for routine maintenance or if a system alarm sounds.


While this technology is something that’s cool to show to friends and coworkers when you’re out of the house, it can also mean big savings when it comes to energy use in the home. Having access to check on and manage the temperature of your home or electricity usage can be a big deal when it comes to the energy bottom line. We’ve all walked out of the house and forgot to switch off all lights or adjust the heat down on the thermostat in the winter. With breaking technologies in the connected home, we can ensure these mistakes can be quickly corrected.


This type of technology, much like smart meter technology provides a great deal of data on energy usage in the home that wasn’t available to the general public or even industry professionals previously. We feel strongly that this can lead to a much more knowledgeable industry overall and to better, smarter ways to measure and manage our energy consumption.