|In most homes, the operation of heating and cooling equipment accounts for the largest part of the home's energy bill. Despite this, most homes waste a tremendous amount of this energy through inefficient use. Efficiency can be significantly improved by only activating the heater, fans or air conditioning when you're home and by only heating or cooling to an exact desired temperature.
If you install a zone-based thermostat, you can set different desired temperatures in each room. By using motion detectors, you can automatically activate your system in each zone as people enter and leave, and programmable thermostats will let you designate specific on and off times multiple times a day, so you can easily schedule the air conditioning to come on half an hour before you arrive home or turn the heat on automatically when you get up in the morning. The energy savings in the average home over just a few years will often pay for your entire home automation system!
A simple, common sense analysis of un-zoned systems will show you how much you can save. Imagine a 2-zone home with the living room as one zone and the bedroom the other. Un-zoned systems will always heat/cool both rooms at the same time even if only one zone is being occupied. This means that twice the necessary energy is being used. Add to that any periods when the system is accidentally left on when no one is home, and you can see how wasteful this system can be.
Automated zoned systems will only heat or cool the room that is being occupied. The occupied room will also be heated or cooled to the desired temperature much faster. This is because the energy that would otherwise be wasted on the unoccupied room is being directed to the occupied room.