Why choose a smart home?
The simple answer is: you will be better off.
A smart home is exactly what you think it is: a home that's designed, built and run in a smart way.
A smart home is:
- warmer, drier, more comfortable with more natural light
- cheaper to run, with lower fuel, power and water bills
- healthier for you and your family
- great to live in
- easier on the environment.
A smart home makes the most of the sun, using it for warmth, water heating, even to generate electricity. You can also save power with energy efficient heating, appliance and lighting and a few simple tricks like switching things off at the wall. Your electricity bill will be slashed!
Smart homes also use less water, which means you can save on water charges if you are metered.
Smart homes are dry year round, decreasing moisture and mould damage. This will reduce the amount of maintenance required, saving you time and money.
Saving money can be easy. For example:
- Fitting a low flow shower head could save you around $200 per year on water heating and nearly another $100 per year on water costs (if you pay for your water).
- Insulating your home will slash your heating costs. An un-insulated home takes up to 45% more energy to heat than a fully insulated home.
- Energy-saving appliances can save you money over their lifetime and they don't generally cost any more to buy than less efficient models
- Replacing incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights can save you approximately $111 per bulb over their lifetime, even allowing for the additional upfront cost.
In addition, if you’re building or renovating, taking a smart approach by recycling and re-using building materials. You can save lots of money in building costs and reduce your impact on the environment - without affecting the quality or strength of your building.
Smart homes can pay for themselves
You don't necessarily have to spend more to live in a smart home. Many of the ideas on this website cost nothing, and will bring you immediate gains.
With others, you may pay some additional up-front costs, but you'll save in the long run.
Smart homes sell for more
International research suggests re-sale values for energy efficient homes are much higher than for other homes. This stands to reason: smart homes are better to live in. Experience in Australia’s ACT, where it is mandatory to disclose a home’s energy efficiency, is that improving energy performance by one star will increase market value by 3%.
Fitting smart features to your home adds value to your asset.
Smart homes are healthier
Many New Zealand homes are unhealthy to live in. Consider:
- Nearly one-third of New Zealand homes are colder than the temperatures recommended by the World Health Organisation for goof health - 18oC in living areas and 16oC in bedrooms.
- Over 45% are damp and have mould and mildew problems.
- Many building materials and furnishings release volatile toxic chemicals - these can take months or even years to clear.
Living in cold, damp conditions isn't healthy for you or your families. It contributes to colds and flu, as well as respiratory diseases such as asthma and cardiovascular diseases.
Cold, damp conditions also contribute to growth of mould and mildew, which also cause respiratory ailments and may be associated with depression.
Volatile chemicals from building products and furnishings can, in high concentrations, cause headaches, runny eyes and nose and other unpleasant symptoms.
A smart home avoids these problems. It's warm, dry, light and well ventilated, and it uses materials that are healthy to be around. Not only will you be healthier, you’ll save on doctors’ bills, prescriptions and time off work or school.
If you value your health and your children's health, a smart home is for you.
Smart homes are safer
In a smart home, good design is used to minimise safety hazards and security threats. For example, smart homes are positioned to be visible from the street so you're part of the community and your home is less likely to be targeted by criminals.
Being smart is about making simple decisions, such setting your hot water temperature at 60 degrees at the cylinder and 55 degrees at the taps and making sure your smoke alarms are working.
Smart homes are more comfortable
A well-designed, well-insulated home will be warm in winter, cool in summer, and stay dry all year round. Smart design will also help to control problems such as noise and glare from the sun. In a smart home, you’ll have a more comfortable life.
Smart homes feel great to live in
Many people who live in smart homes say there are many benefits of a smart home that are hard to put a dollar value on - things like:
- positive mental health – a happier family
- design and layout which makes the most of space
- a sense of independence and resilience
- being close to extended family
- access to community facilities and public transport
It is often these benefits people value the most, even though they may not be the main reason for designing a smart home in the first place.
Smart homes help the environment
Smart homes help the environment by helping you.
By using less energy, you're cutting your power bill - and you're also helping the country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
By using less water, you’re reducing your own costs and also reducing the need for new dams and reservoirs, and limiting the impact of stormwater on waterways and beaches.
By reducing waste, recycling and composting, you’re cutting down on the need for landfills.
Climate change and other environmental issues can seem too big to deal with. But you can make a difference just by making smart decisions at home.
Smart homes are for everyone
You don't have to build a new smart home. You can make smart changes when you renovate.
Whether you own or rent - you can make simple, everyday lifestyle changes such as composting your kitchen waste or choosing energy-efficient light bulbs. The changes will be easy and simple to make and you'll be saving money and the environment.
Maintaining and renovating can be smart
You don't have to build a whole house to have a smart home.
Only a few of us ever build our own home. Most of us buy existing houses. We often choose to renovate, and they all have to be maintained.
Maintaining your home makes it last longer. Renovating helps it adapt to your changing needs. If you're smart about how you approach maintenance and renovation, these options can cost you less and use fewer resources in the long run than building a new home or buying another.
Want to know more?
Throughout this site, you'll find information that will help you to design, build, renovate, maintain and run a smart home.
Also on Smarter Homes
- Design: find information about designing a new home or renovation that meets your family's needs, makes the most of the sun's warmth and retains that heat.
- Energy: tips on saving energy and reducing your power bills.
- Water: tips on conserving water and reducing your water costs.
- Sitting and landscaping: information on how to set out your home and garden to maximise its natural assets.
- Materials: information about which building materials to choose in order to protect your family and the environment.
- Construction: information about the pros and cons of different types of house construction.
- Case studies to show you how some New Zealanders are already reaping the benefits of smart homes.