For George and Jane Jetson and their offspring Elroy and Susie, their smart house included every convenience, including a mechanized maid. Although a real smart house is not nearly so advanced as the space age home of the Jetsons, a smart house can make life easier and more efficient. The technological advances of a smart house can also make a significant environmental and economic impact. The smart house of the future promises to feature even more innovations to improve the lives of its inhabitants.
What Is a Smart House?
A smart house is a home that features electronic and technological innovations designed to control and automate its various functions. In a smart house, environmental controls are regulated according to the time of day and whether a particular room is occupied. Music and other entertainment can be easily controlled with the touch of a button. Monitoring the house while the occupants are away can be done with a mobile phone or via remote Internet control.
The smart home of the 21st century focuses on devices that automate or regulate appliances, climate control and other everyday aspects of living. Controls can be set so that functions take place automatically according to a timer or by motion detection. Touch panels and cell phone controlled functions mean that turning on lights, adjusting room temperature or even adding mood music can be as easy as pressing a button.
With a smart home, the electricity that flows into a home can automatically be adjusted to various voltages for different appliances and devices. Additionally, unlike conventional electrical systems inside a home, a smart home's electrical system provides power only to outlets that have appliances plugged in and turned on. A smart home controller also monitors the circuitry inside the home and disconnects power in the event of a short circuit. Sensors in a smart home can detect water and gas leaks as well as the first signs of smoke and then alert residents inside.
Because a smart home can regulate utility usage to its most efficient advantage, homeowners and rental residents can realize significant savings on utility bills. Utilities can be adjusted to take advantage of lower off-peak rates. Also, less waste means that consumers won't be billed for appliances and devices that are "always on" even when no one is around to use them.
Smart homes are also often green homes. Because of the increased efficiency of utilities in a smart home, water, electricity and gas consumption are decreased--all of which preserves natural and fossil fuel resources. Smart homes also include innovations such as solar panels to further decrease the need for conventional fossil fuels for energy needs. Green roofs, rain gardens and sustainable vegetable gardens improve the aesthetic surroundings of the home in addition to lending environmental benefits.