How one Roseville family saved 50% off energy bill with a Smart Home

This Roseville family of four had a very busy morning routine, and sometimes lights and heaters were left on just a little too long … 

The Brief

Tastic heat lampThe owners wanted to control all lights in the home through a smart phone, as well as bathroom heaters and fans. A particular concern was the “tastic” heat lamps, which were often left on long after the children had finished in the bathroom. These appliances are very common and great for heating up the room quickly on cold winter mornings, but unfortunately, they do consume a lot of energy.

Smart lighting and heating controls would allow the parents to easily switch off any or all circuits with a single button press. In addition, they wanted sensors in the bathrooms to control lights and heaters automatically.

Our Solution

We designed a system in close collaboration with the owners, which met both the technical and budget constraints. It consisted of:

  • Vera Edge smart home controller
  • Fibaro dimmer modules for lighting circuits
  • Fibaro switches for bathroom heaters and fans
  • Fibaro motion sensors in the bathrooms

This system would give the parents full control of their lighting, heating and fans from anywhere in the world using their smart phone. In addition, the bathroom sensors allow custom automations programmed either by the owners themselves or supported by Wirefree .

Electrician installing Fibaro control modules to bathroom heater When installing Fibaro modules, there is generally a choice of installation either behind the regular light switch or in the ceiling cavity. In this case, as the building featured architrave switches with no room behind them for the smart modules, they went into the ceiling cavity. Not our electrician’s favourite place to be on a hot day, but we always find a way!

Motion sensors are usually set to turn on lights when they detect motion, however in this case they were programmed to save energy: The heat lamps were configured to turn off automatically after 5 minutes of no motion detected in the bathroom.

It’s important to realise that with this system installed, virtually any setting can be easily configured. The timer can be longer or shorter, it can apply to multiple circuits, or the automation can be built around a combination of sensor inputs such as ambient temperature, light and motion.

The Result

When we came back to speak to Jason the owner 3 months later, he was excited to report a major reduction of 50% off his most recent energy bill, from $1,300 to mid-$600’s. He attributed a large portion of the savings to increased awareness, in particular around use of the bathroom heat lamps. And because the system reports energy use for each circuit, the family had already identified further savings in changing light bulbs over to LED.

“And are the automations working all right for you?” we asked. “We can always modify the settings?”

It works perfectly. I’ve had some complaints with the bathroom going dark mid-shower, but as I say – you shouldn’t be having five-minute showers anyways, and please don’t use the heaters for lighting!

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