Smart meters are essential to establishing a more sustainable energy system fit for the future of our planet, but they are only really the beginning in terms of how we can make our everyday lives more efficient using new smart technologies.
As the cornerstone of the future smart energy grid, smart meters are a vital upgrade to our national energy infrastructure, not only putting consumers in control of their energy use, but also providing the building blocks of a more flexible, cleaner and resilient energy system fit for the 21st century.
This could bring consumers, the energy industry and wider economy up to £40 billion of benefits over the next few decades according to the UK government.
But while smart meters are a pivotal part of this future in terms of decarbonising and modernising our energy supply and usage, they are only really the beginning in terms of how we can make our everyday lives more efficient and sustainable through the use of new smart technologies.
The Smart E-Home of the future
In a recent forum organised by Smart Energy GB, a panel of experts was gathered to visualise what the smart ‘eco’ home of the future might actually look like.
Discussing a range of innovations which are either already on the market, in development, or imagined within the boundaries of current technological possibilities, the panel outlined a home complete with smart toilets, living rooms which transform colour, texture and shape via voice-command, community-based electric vehicle car-pooling and living kitchens with hydroponic fruit and vegetables gardens.
The experts came together from a cross-section of industries, including sustainability, engineering, architecture, futurology and electric vehicles (EV), to discuss the technologies evolving now and how these innovations could soon become a reality.
Key components of the Smart E-Home include:
- Bed sheets which can be different temperatures according to bed partners’ individual preferences
- Smart cushions and furniture which change colour, fabric and texture using augmented reality, reducing the need to replace them when you redecorate
- Hydroponic indoor gardens which, with efficient light use, will mean we’ll have fresh vegetables to harvest in our own kitchens - these could take up as much space as a wall cabinet or bookshelf
- An EV charging station and vehicle – one giant battery for your home and energy for neighbourhood usage, with neighbourhood carpooling providing an alternative to public transport
- Bathrooms which track your health statistics in real-time
- Toilets which turn waste into fuel
70% of adults would like an eco-friendly home
Besides the Smart E-Home panel, Smart Energy GB also gathered supporting research which reveals that 70% of adults would like a more eco-friendly home, but two in 10 (20%) don’t know how to go about it and over two thirds (67%) think it’s too expensive. Despite this, 83% of Brits are interested in new technology which would make their homes greener.
The poll of 2,000 adults revealed that owning a composting bin and energy efficient whitegoods, and having a smart meter and a water efficient showerhead installed, are just some of the small steps the nation is already taking to create a more sustainable way of living.
Looking to the future, Brits predict the Smart E-Home would have a giant battery to store energy from the sun and include windows which adapt to light to keep your home hot or cold without the need for heating or air conditioning. Others anticipate a life where we can live entirely on recycled rainwater, or even having micro-turbines in homes to help generate energy (27%).
Dr Ian Pearson, Futurologist, commented on the research by saying:
“Making homes greener certainly won’t mean making them low tech. With the Smart E-Home, it will be possible for us to entirely redecorate our homes without buying new fixtures or fittings. Instead we’ll use augmented reality and smart furniture made from reconfigurable materials.
“Our homes will use renewable energy, stored in home batteries, and will make our lives easier. Hydroponics, for example, will grow fresh salad and herbs, reduce the number of trips to shops while improving our diet. Special LED lighting will provide the colours of light that plants prefer, avoiding waste, and of course smart meters can provide the energy for this lighting when it is cheapest.
“We know electric transport will grow rapidly in popularity, especially now that EV charging points will be compulsory in new-build homes. Smart meters and smart charging will support this transition, helping us charge EVs with cheaper, greener energy.
Robert Cheesewright, Director of Corporate Affairs at Smart Energy GB, added:
“Smart meters are bringing the future into our homes today. They’re the first step to being in control of our energy use, of saving money by using energy more efficiently, and helping to create a smart energy grid.
“A smart grid makes it easier for us to draw on and store electricity when it’s less in demand, and then use it again when scarce or more expensive later in the day. Together, smart meters and a smart grid help to create a cleaner, greener Britain.”
We are one of the country’s leading smart meter installation companies, that’s why energy suppliers count on us to deliver smart meters to their domestic customers around Britain. Find out more about how we are making British homes smarter.