Makook Special: Live smart – save money while you help save the planet

July 6, 2015

Going ‘green’ through conservation of energy and water resources, and, being a positive contributor to the good of our planet are certainly things that we should all aspire to.  However, it is not a breach of your ethical and moral obligation in this regard to look for the money saving benefits along the way.  In fact, the two go hand in hand quite nicely.  So, if you can do both yourself and the planet a favor at the same time, this is a win-win for everyone.

Here in the UAE, we have begun to see the emails, advertising and messaging from DEWA and other utility operators, trying to get us to pay attention to energy and water conservation.  DEWA has evolved its policies over time in following the national edict toward environmental conservation and care.

They have also included on their website, many bits of useful information and suggestions for saving energy and water. From the point of view of this article, these suggestions also nicely translate into ways to save some money. It also speaks to part of what it really means to ‘Live Smart’. That’s what all the talk regarding the ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘Smart devices’ should be all about: Devices that work together and act in a coordinated communication on your behalf. So, when you are not at home, the A/C turns off, the lights go off and other devices are powered down!  Not long ago, doing this was expensive and difficult, but this has recently all become very easy and surprisingly affordable for almost anyone. Let’s take a look at some of the suggestions and how we can put this into practice.

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Energy

DEWA says that each degree on your thermostat (for example: setting for 78 degrees instead of 77 degrees, or 23c instead of 22.5c) can mean up to 9% savings on cooling costs. Installing an AC/thermostat control or an inline power control switch can save you energy and costs. After setting the thermostat one degree warmer in general, setting a schedule to adjust the thermostat to a higher temperature or turning it off while you are away from your home will provide significant savings in both electricity and money. The on/off control with an inline switch can easily be integrated with a real home automation platform.

Schedule heat-producing activities like laundry, ironing, and cooking at cooler times of day when possible. Using sensors can also notify you if a door or window has been left open, after all, no one wants to pay to try to cool the outdoors! With an integrated system, you can also receive notification on your mobile phone if something has been left open or the A/C is running and not cooling the room.

Use closed drapes/curtains to reduce the heat entering through glass. Sunlight coming directly through glass windows and doors will heat up a room quickly. Utilizing Smart devices, for example, can close the curtains to minimize this heating effect and save your AC from running overtime when you are not at home. This too can be automated, to close the drapes along with other functions when you press a single icon on your smartphone. For example, create a ‘scene’, or pre-set combination of devices to act when you select this on your mobile app. Very easy to do with a true, integrated home automation platform.

Turn off lights when not needed. Setting a timing schedule when convenient or utilizing motion sensors will keep lights from burning when they are not needed and reduce your electricity consumption and your monthly bill.

And why not monitor your whole home energy consumption with a sensor that allows you to track your consumption in real-time.  This is a great way to keep track of how you are doing on a continual basis and the ongoing effect of your efforts to contribute to preserving our resources.

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Water

DEWA says an average of 20% of toilets leak. Check toilets periodically for leaks and repair them promptly.  Toilets can account for almost 30% of indoor water use.  Flood alert sensors can let you know of any leakage or breakage, either something small that requires attention or perhaps a water heater leak while you are away on holiday.  Combine this with a shutoff control and you have the simple means to avoid potentially large problems while also keeping your bill from spiking. With this as part of your integrated automation, you can also receive notification on your mobile of any issues.

Water your garden in several short sessions rather than one long one. Only water when your lawn is thirsty. As much as 30% of water can be lost to evaporation by watering the lawn during midday. Homes with in-ground sprinkler systems use 35% more water outdoors than those who do not have an in-ground system. Adjust for seasonal irrigation needs. Install moisture sensors in each irrigation zone to avoid lots of waste and added expense.

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How to…

The fact that you have read this far shows that you are a conscientious member of our society, and at Makook Smart Living, we both applaud this thinking and aim to help facilitate your efforts.

Makook is connected; we provide the first managed service delivery platform to enable ubiquitous and simple access and interactions between people, data, services and devices.  This delivers what others have only promised: a truly seamless connected life where everyone and everything speak the same ‘digital language’ and interact in ways never possible before.

Makook is instrumented; we deliver entertainment, education, health and wellness, a private cloud, home security, automation, energy management, and enhanced communication services, all on a single managed platform.  From devices like mobile/smartphones, TVs, tablets and PCs to utilities like security systems, thermostats, and glucometers, everything lives on the same platform and speaks the same language.

Makook is intelligent; we are not a technology company or even about technology.  Instead, we are about bringing meaningful lifestyle experiences to people in a new world of hyper-connected devices.

Live smartly ever after.

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by Ghassan Khayyat
Ghassan was tuned into the writing world on a transistor radio-wave of an unbeknownst frequency, once upon a daydream dreary. With a firm belief in Dr. Seussims and all things gadget and gizmo-tronic, he tinkers before he speaks, and chooses his words technologically. He is Editor for T3 Middle East’s Levant English publication and English website, and Associated Editor for the GCC English publication. Reach him at ghassan@t3me.com.