Smart Home Energy Gifting Feature Image
There is no better time than winter when it comes to giving the gift of smart home energy savings. After all, when temperatures are sweltering, your lights aren’t on until 10 PM and only air conditioning is on your mind. You’re hardly thinking about the upcoming rise in your winter energy bills.

Smart Home energy savings can be achieved with a few products out on the market right now. The main source of savings will come from your heating bills, but if we’re looking at energy consumption in general, consider options with lighting and even window dressings. This blog will look at some of these options that are available for you to gift right now, courtesy of Best Buy.

Achieving Smart Home Energy Savings Through Your Heating Bills

In recent years, a good smart thermostat has been one of the quickest and fastest ways to help cut down on your energy expenditures. By using modern technology to mimic your usual heating needs, you’ll start to see your energy usage and your bills drop as it gets more efficient.

Perhaps the most famous smart thermostat on the market right now is the Nest Learning Thermostat system. Through the partnerships Nest has been able to create with many other smart home companies (some of which I’ll be mentioning later in this blog), and the empire of other 1st party products Alphabet/Google have built around it, Nest and its “Works with Nest” program are really well connected for creating a functioning smart ecosystem in your home.

Nest Thermostat Energy SavingsThe Nest Learning Thermostat itself is pretty top of its class too, taking the “Learning” term seriously. After a few weeks with Nest in your home, the thermostat and app take the data you input into it to help figure out how your home’s heating needs are best served. With (optional, but helpful) room sensors, Nest can also get a read on what parts of the home need the most attention throughout the day and night. Nest has also claimed in the past that owning one of their thermostats should (on average) net you the purchase price of your thermostat within 2 years of ownership.

There are other options if you want to look outside of Nest. In fact, two very suitable options are homegrown. There’s Toronto’s ecobee, which has been developing its technology just as fast as its competitors. They too have a smart sensor system to monitor your home’s heating needs and act accordingly. They also have home/away settings that can detect whether you’re at home, and whether your place even needs heating with you there.

ecobee4 Thermostat

These options are great for gifting to somebody that has forced air furnaces, but what if you’re buying for an electric baseboard owner? Montreal’s Sinope Technologies has you covered there. Sinope’s Smart Thermostats have been built to work specifically with baseboard heating to effectively heat your home. Sinope was also the market leader in Canada to help gauge actual dollar amount savings through its companion data online. Based on your geographic location and the estimated heating bills in your area, Sinope is able to tell you what you’re saving in real dollars through its detailed reporting.

While smart energy savings via a thermostat is probably the largest chunk of change (and the easiest to tackle up front), there are definitely other gifting options to pursue as well.

Achieving Smart Home Energy Savings Through Your Lighting

Philips Hue Tree SceneI’m not citing any specific study here, but I would guess that 100% of Canadians have left lights on unnecessarily at some point in their lives, and maybe even within the last few days. While today’s light bulbs consume much less power than the incandescent bulbs of old, leaving those lights on an extra 2 or 3 hours per day adds up over time.

Gifting Smart Lights to your friends and family will definitely help them take control over that forgetfulness (or laziness – yes, I said it) that keeps them from turning their lights off. By adding a smart light switch or smart bulbs to their home automation repertoire, you’re giving them the power to start using their smart devices to help control their lighting. This could come from setting timers, or even just controlling their switches and bulbs manually through the applicable apps. Some lighting systems, like Philips Hue, even partner with companies like Nest so that you can do things like automatically shut any affected lights off once you’ve left the house and the thermostat stops heating the place.

Hunter Douglas Blinds


Achieving Smart Home Energy Savings Through Your… Windows?

As the modern smart home evolved, it was really just a matter of time before window dressings became a thing. We’ve explored smart garages, locks, thermostats, light switches and bulbs, and I’ve even talked about smart slow cookers (of all things). It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that smart window covers are now making a rise in Canada, and Hunter Douglas is leading the way with its customized solutions.


Best Gift

Imagine having smart shades or blinds that react to your day’s needs and add natural light to the home when needed (as well as protect from heat loss at night). Nearly half of a home’s heating and cooling can be lost by poor window treatments—whether it’s your dressings, caulking around the windows, or both.

You’ll definitely know it in the winter if you ever feel drafts near your windows, which is a good sign that you’ve got some issues to address. A good window cover system, like the automated solution Hunter Douglas proposes, means that you can take a lot of the guesswork (and manual work) out of drawing and raising your shades. What this, in turn, will do is ensure that your window covers are helping to keep the heat (or cooling) in and avoid having it escape to the outside.

Best of all, it also works with Nest’s products, along with some of the other smart home partner options out there (like IFTTT). Imagine having this system in a home working in conjunction with smart thermostats and smart lighting? What a great gift!

Don’t Forget the Voice Assistants!

Now that we’ve explored a few options for gifting smart home energy savings, don’t forget about voice assistants! Many of the products I’ve mentioned in this blog are supported by voice commands through Amazon Echo and Google Home. If your gift recipient already has a voice assistant, then you should be able to narrow down your choices to products that they can run with to make their lives even easier!


An ecobee Thermostat partnered with an Amazon Echo

This Holiday Season, if you want to go with a practical gift, take a look at offering up the gift of smart home savings and what you can find at your local Best Buy, or online at Happy Holidays!

Matt Paligaru
Emerging Technology
A technology nut at heart, I'm always interested in what makes our lives easier and helps us tick day to day. Whether Home Automation, toys, games (board and video) or everything in between, I'm always looking around the corner to see what drives us in today's day and age.