Smart home in the era of computerization - ENGO

Smart home in the era of computerization

21/04/23

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Is it worth installing a smart home heating system?

The computerization and automation of most areas of our lives has been a fact for a long time. So it must have translated into an increase in expectations for the energy efficiency of our homes. Smart heating systems, although they increase convenience and liberate us from routine tasks, are not just a gadget. They are indispensable components of modern buildings, which – in order to come into use – must meet certain energy exploitation criteria. Automatic energy management systems are gradually being imposed on us by law. So the question should not be “Is it worth installing a smart home heating system?”, but rather: “Which control system should I choose?”.

However, let’s look at the specific benefits of installing a smart heating system.

Is Smart home and smart heating the same?

In a way, yes, but smart heating is a narrower concept. Although it is often combined with the control of other devices in a smart home, it refers only to the energy-efficient intake of the heating medium – as the name suggests, by the way.

However, it is rarely the case that a smart heating system is limited to controlling the heating system. Manufacturers are expanding its scope, increasing its multifunctionality. Temperature control alone is no longer enough. The development of digital technology is at a higher level, as are most of its users, who are increasingly less satisfied with a closed system – designed to control only one installation or one appliance.

A smart home is not about that. In a smart home, everything works together and takes us out of mundane tasks. It gives the impression that the house is thinking, anticipating, guessing our needs – making decisions for us. Of course, this effect is not due to “thinking machines” (at least for now). It is achieved thanks to the previously created connections of home installations (called variously; scenes, scenarios, rules).

Smart heating has become an inseparable part of the smart home. But the smart home has also become an energy-efficient building (not just a convenience building) with strictly delineated energy characteristics. It must be equipped with efficient and environmentally friendly heat sources, in which the intake mechanisms of the heating medium are guarded by zonal temperature control automation:

Heating systems should be equipped with devices that automatically regulate the temperature separately in individual rooms /WT 2021, §135.7/.

Smart heating system is more than automation

From the early days of automation, we remember systems that operated one installation or one device. Back then, remote control meant turning on the TV from the hallway or the couch. However, much has changed. Now to remotely control a house means to create well-thought-out rules so that without our participation the lights turn on at selected times or when we enter a room. The heating works according to schedules tailored to us. It connects with other home actions, such as the operation of blinds or the opening or closing of windows. The heating turns off when we tilt the window, the blinds drop when we enter the house – or when we leave it. Appliances can “play by our rules” when the building stands empty. The house works for our mood and budget – thanks to smart relays and sensors that don’t need our attention to operate on a daily basis.

Now we also appreciate open systems that combine multiple brands and multiple functions in one place. They are operated with a smartphone always at hand, and a single application common to all home appliances. Just such is the ENGO Smart system – open to the TUYA platform, which is triumphing in the smart home industry.

Smart heating system plays to the same goal (as you)

ENGO Controls’ smart heating system is operated via the ENGO Smart/Tuya Smart mobile app. Some devices can communicate via Wi-Fi, others work on the ZigBee 3.0 protocol, but then the connectivity is through an Internet gateway, and remote control from the application is possible if you connect the gateway to the Internet. Saved operating rules, on the other hand, are retained even if there is no Internet access.

With communication methods conceived in this way, ENGO Controls systems provide a choice of solutions to suit expectations. On the one hand, we can have a smart home open to other popular technologies – different devices from different manufacturers (Wi-Fi products, TUYA). On the other hand, we can build a single-brand network of home devices whose connections will not cease when Wi-Fi connectivity falters (EGATEZB gateway).

Smart heating system helps save money

We have written about this many times, but it doesn’t hurt to remind you, because energy efficiency means financial savings. Lower energy consumption results in lower bills, especially during the heating season. And we are not talking about symbolic amounts for the already famous “cotton balls”, but – depending on the square footage, technical parameters of the house, selected heating schemes and saved rules – significant savings on a monthly basis.

Although it’s a truism, let’s repeat: less heating fuel costs less. And by controlling the temperature, we use less energy.

Modern energy management systems (including control automation) make it possible to reduce energy consumption by up to 30% – and that’s with realistic, not hurricane-optimistic estimates.

Let’s also keep in mind the increasing popularity of RES, that is, heating patents that allow not only the use of renewable energy, but also its production or even storage (photovoltaic panels). All this makes it possible to create a smart heating system for your own use, which impressively reduces final energy consumption at low operating costs.

Smart heating system protects health

Thanks to optimal energy management, residential buildings no longer interfere as much with the environment as they did even 10 or 15 years ago. Of course, the problem of smog and high CO² emissions into the atmosphere is still pressing and still requires the introduction of many environmental regulations, but our awareness of the subject is at a different level than it was a decade ago.

We are replacing old coal stoves with gas boilers, electric boilers or – even better – heat pumps. We are installing photovoltaics and controlling the temperature in zones not only because we want to pay less for heating. We understand more and more that less air pollution is at the weight of life – ours and our children’s.

Anything that helps optimize energy intake and use, which helps neutralize the negative human impact on the environment, protects us from ourselves. Automation that controls the consumption of the heating medium is undoubtedly such a thing.

Let’s also note that high environmental awareness is becoming more and more fashionable. Actors and celebrities are talking about it. A great career can be made on ecology. Caring for the condition of the planet has become an indicator of knowledge of the modern dilemmas of civilization, and sometimes of life’s ambitions. It has become an important thread of modern lifestyle – lifestyle. It testifies to eco-commitment, which raises social status. This can be judged differently, but it is difficult to remain silent about it.

And what does the regulation say about it?

Will energy management in buildings become a legal obligation, affecting everyone? For the most part, it already is. Recommendations on the renovation of buildings in use – raising their energy class – are in widespread use. They appear in the public space, in the media. There is a lot of talk about it, environmental campaigns and financial support programs are being implemented. The requirements for newly constructed buildings (WT 2021), which have received a building permit and are to be put into operation in the coming months or years, are also clearly specified (these requirements are subject to updating). The construction law doesn’t forget about energy management either, and government subsidy programs for replacing old heating equipment with new ones expect beneficiaries to meet strict conditions. Want to renew your heating system? You need to follow the eco-rules.

So all this is already in place, although no one is yet going around the houses and checking whether we are sure we are using energy efficiently. Instead, we can get a fine for firing unauthorized heating fuel or for burning garbage or leaves in the garden.

What documents regulate energy management?

  1. Long-term building renovation strategy: this is a recommendation on thermo-modernisation and modernization of buildings. It indicates the benefits of smart technology, such as operating heating, ventilation, DHW, lighting in a common panel.
  2. Building law: in general, it requires meeting basic energy-saving and thermal insulation solutions.
  3. The already cited WT 2021 sets standards related to thermal insulation and energy conservation. They impose the use of automated control systems for heating fuel intake. The idea is to control how much heat a building loses (insulation, window frames) and the amount of non-renewable energy required for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, DHW. The priority here is to be as energy efficient as possible – temperature control strongly improves the parameters.

In a few words, there’s no getting around the topic. Soon legal requirements will lead to the fact that we will have to use energy consumption management systems. Otherwise, we won’t be able to use domestic systems, and they are essential for normal life. And while this sounds like a compulsion – and no one likes compulsions – it’s worth noticing all the benefits that have been mentioned:

  • Lower building operating costs – it’s easier for us to maintain our homes
  • Energy efficiency – we waste less energy
  • Environmental and health considerations – we protect the environment and feel better
  • Convenience and comfort – we always have the optimal temperature in the rooms
  • Social prestige – we gain in the eyes of other

So, is it worth installing a smart home heating system? It is worth it, because the focus is changing right in front of us. A smart heating system is no longer an investment in a better tomorrow – it is an element without which there will be no better tomorrow.

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