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Save Energy with Home Automation Apps on the iPad

3/28/2011 1:29:12 PM

Tags: michael samsel, technology, iPad, iPhone, apps, energy savings, save energy, home automation

Michael SamselMichael Samsel is an entrepreneur and writer on the subjects of home design and green home practices.  A co-founder of, their “good design” mission emphasizes individual design personality, the eclectic and hand-made, and a commitment to green home pursuits.

Just maybe you can have your cake and eat it too when it comes to saving energy in your home. Unplugging TVs and computers, using only necessary lighting, controlling indoor climate precisely for comfort without waste—even regulating hot water to your schedule—you might be surprised to learn that the iPad has some powerful apps that can do just these tasks. 

Sometimes it seems the big moves to save energy—replacing the furnace, insulating, etc.—are easier to do than the little things that, over the course of the year, can add up to significant savings of energy and money. 

I’m talking about home automation and the iPad stands to change the face of this “out of reach to the mere mortal” technology. iPad apps from the leading home control systems manufacturers are now available that make the iPad touch screen the control center for everything from running your entertainment center to operating your irrigation system to turning the lights on. And that’s just scratching the surface.  

IPad and IPhone 
Use your iPad or iPhone to control the heating and cooling systems in your home. Photo By bfishadow/Courtesy Flickr. 

Consider the three Apple mobile devices: the iPad, the iPod touch, and the iPhone. Two of the leading home control systems manufacturers, Crestron and Savant, make wall mounts specifically for the iPad to act as a control center and charging station. And, when not needed for home automation, remove your iPad and use as normal. If you want to keep it in the dock, get an iPod touch to have available for each entertainment center throughout the house for control and access, and use your phone for all of the above and to disarm your security system and unlock the door. Are you beginning to get the picture?

Now granted, many of these features require special switches, remote access and wireless capability, but the fact is, the time is now. It can be done today. And the cost as a result of these devices is coming way down.  

Keep in mind that with Wi-Fi and 3G you can remotely operate most all of the systems you engage with. If no one is home for the day, you can turn the heat down from the office. If it’s raining this week, you can turn the irrigation off while on your business trip. And, of course, there are all the other benefits of automation. Turn on lights, music and heat as you enter the house. Turn down the entire house with the push of a button as you climb into bed. 

So – how’s this green again? Computers and TVs are turned off at the power source when not in use. Heating is well managed for savings. Lighting is on when you need it and not left on when you don’t. Water is conserved with a more accessible irrigation control. Window coverings are engaged to minimize heat loss or heat gain at appropriate times of day.  

Did I mention… you’ll also get an iPad out of the deal and you can finally and forever rid yourself of every blasted home entertainment remote control. Now that’s living green!


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