Smart home

#10WeeksofSummer: How Smart Can You Make Your Home? Very! And Here is How

Imagine walking into a home of the future where lights, locks, appliances, air conditioning, and other home technologies are connected and controlled using just voice commands or via your smartphone.

Alexa…turn the lights on!

Okay Google…turn the lights off!

That future is already here, and it’s on display at our recently upgraded Smart Home at the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center, which is open to the public, free of charge, five days a week.

Visitors to the Smart Home can experience the latest home automation innovations that add convenience and security, while also boosting energy-efficiency and cutting energy costs down to potentially zero. Some Smart Homes are Zero Net – meaning the amount of energy the home consumes is equivalent to the amount of renewable energy it generates. In the case of this Smart Home, the source of the renewable energy is rooftop solar.

Smart Home automation saves energy

At the heart of our recent upgrade to the Smart Home is the home automation displays. Here is where you can test out the Amazon Echo voice controlled speaker, which comes to life when you call out “Alexa.” There are now many similar voice-controlled speakers available on the market. Well-known alternatives to the Echo include Google Home and Apple HomePod.

Besides turning on/off the lights and the ceiling fan in the kitchen, Alexa can lock the front door and adjust the Nest thermostat.

Let’s say you would like to centralize the control of small electronics with a single device that you can manage via Amazon Echo or your smartphone. That is doable today through something called smart plugs. Smart plugs can “talk” to digital assistants like Alexa and help program electronics to power on or off.

Enhanced security

In addition to comfort and energy efficiency, a Smart Home can enhance security.

Security cameras can now send alerts to your phone when motion or sound is detected. Smart cameras even have microphones and speakers to allow two-way communication between your phone and the camera.

Also showcased in our Smart Home is the August Smart Lock, which can keep track of who comes and goes. You can open the lock with your phone, and create virtual keys for your guests.

Home automation technologies are just one aspect of the Smart Home. There is a lot more to see. Our Smart Home has a garage, kitchen, and living room. In the full-size replica garage, you can learn about the latest and greatest in electric vehicles, EV chargers, smart meters, home energy hubs, washers and dryers, and smart thermostats. In the kitchen, you can check out energy-efficient appliances and SwitchLite Privacy Glass™, which can go from clear to opaque with the flip of a switch. No curtains or blinds needed!

Take a tour

Come on down to our Energy Innovation Center in San Diego’s Clairemont neighborhood and be prepared to be wowed by the Smart Home. Step by step, you will learn how Smart Home technologies add security and convenience while shrinking your carbon footprint. Displays show five steps to create a Net Zero Home. The first few steps are simple and can save you money right away. For example, use smart power strips that can selectively shut off power to electronics not in use.

The Energy Innovation Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5  p.m. No appointments necessary. The educational displays are designed to be a series of self-guided tours, so you can experience everything at your own pace.

Enter to win a Smart Home bundle!

This week, we’re giving customers the chance to enter to win one of two Smart Home bundles on SDG&E Marketplace. We’ll be giving away LED lights, power strips, and smart thermostats to help you lower your bill and reduce your use.

Click here to enter.

Editor’s note: this is part of SDG&E’s #10WeeksOfSummer campaign where customers can learn more about how we power San Diego and get tips & tools to help you save money and energy.