Why we should pay attention to smart heating

  • 15 Jun 2016

GUEST BLOG: Paul Campbell, Director of Greenvision Energy, looks at the impact of smart heating technology from the last few years, and considers where it may go in the future.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is slowly becoming less of a buzzword and more our daily reality. The term refers to the increasing connectivity of almost everything in our lives, often with our ever-present smartphones at the heart of it all. Recent research suggests that by 2025, global spending on smart thermostats and related products will rise from the current $1.1billion to $4.4billion as the technology’s popularity continues to rise. Smart heating is not something that we can afford to ignore, so I want to take a look now at what it is, and why its popularity is booming.

‘Smart heating’ is really an umbrella term for any heating systems in your building that gives you full control over it, often remotely, or heating systems that actually learn your habits and self-regulate to save you having to do anything. Perhaps the most important example of smart heating is the smart thermostat. These devices allow you to control the central heating of your building through anything with internet access, and are designed to help you save energy by helping you to fine-tune exactly when you need to use the heating and for how long.

There are other products that stop short of holistic building control, such as wifi radiators. These products simply combine the best radiators that modern tech can offer with wifi controls, allowing you to control them from your phone rather than at the wall. This makes it easy to turn the heating on in a certain room while you’re out so that it’s warm when you get back, or to turn off a radiator in a room that you’d forgotten about when you left a room. The hallmarks of this smart technology are flexibility and control. It lets you run your heating system in the optimal way for your building.

Smart technology is something that needs to be taken into consideration when constructing new buildings, or when making changes to existing ones. It seems like smart heating is our present and our future, and we can’t ignore it. To make our lives easier, many of the best existing smart heating options can be retrofitted, allowing building owners to make changes fairly easily. Or if it’s just one room that you’re looking to update, installing a single wifi radiator is a simple solution.

Internet of ThingsThis new heating technology isn’t going to go away. The IoT is a few years old now, but it’s still in its infancy, and developments continue to be made as different companies chip in to try and get ahead of the competition. This has already led to innovations such as the self-learning thermostats that monitor a combination of the weather outside and your behavioural patterns to automatically heat your home perfectly, and I fully expect the trend of innovation and development to continue into the next decade and beyond.

It is impossible to say where smart heating will end up, but the remote connectivity aspect is very much in line with our current reliance on smartphones for just about everything, and there is a definite trend towards more environmentally friendly solutions in and around the home. It goes without saying that most people like to save money, so the better this technology becomes at giving us control about when and how we use energy in our buildings, the more popular it will become. It is also entirely possible that in the future the AI technology will be good enough to regulate our heating and save us money without the need for anything more than the occasional remote input from us, but I couldn’t say how quickly that day will arrive.

Smart heating in all its forms is exciting. It’s bringing our buildings into the future, saving energy and money as it does so, and fitting into the way that we already behave. It is worth keeping an eye on if you want to ensure that your building is always heated as efficiently as possible, and it looks set to keep getting better over the coming years.

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