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In today’s world there is an array of offers to help you reduce your energy use or to generate your own. Some of this gets lost in complexity and marketing spin from energy companies trying to sell you products or wanting you to take up something for their benefit. Whilst these may be good, there are still some simple and cost-effective approaches you can take in your home or business.


Generally the average home in New Zealand uses around 7000 KWH per annum, but this can be larger in homes that do not have gas or wood fire heating. Typically a house gas or wood heating can use over 9000 KWH per annum. With the data from the New Zealand Electricity Authority 2018 report we know where most of the household power is consumed.  However some of the larger categories are not so easy to reduce, or the capital cost of energy reduction is not practical. An example of this is space heating. You could completely eliminate winter heating by installing a wood burner or gas heaters. However all you are doing is moving the costs from one form to another. Whilst some may be more efficient and cheaper to run, the capital cost can be quite large.

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However, some are easy and cost effective to convert or add additional control onto that can easily reduce your energy consumption. Below are some suggestions and options you may like to explore.



Change out incandescent lighting for LED

This is a quick, simple and cost effective method of reducing your energy consumption. Most LED lights are approximately 7x more efficient. Generally if you have a house with 30 light points you will save around $850.00 per annum.

Replace outdoor lighting with Solar powered LED lighting

The amount of times when I am driving home the number of outside lights I see on. These bulbs are usually high wattage and should be better controlled. One way is to lower the sensitivity of the sensor or angle it away from objects that move by wind or traffic.


Use a smart control system to remotely control your lighting

How many times have you left for the day and go, “did I turn off the lights in the bedroom?” By connecting your lighting circuits to an integrated smart control system like Control4 you do not have to worry if you did leave the lights on. You can simply check on your phone and if they are on turn them off remotely.


Space Heating

There are many forms of space heating and their usage time is also dependent on your location and local council rules. However, there are some rules that will give you better bang for your buck in terms of heating.


Insulate your home

This is one of the best ways to improve the heating of your home. By ensuring you have good insulation in the roof, walls and floor, along with ways to block drafts you will hold the heat in your home. For windows, double glazing is the best option but the use of thermal drapes or curtains are a cost-effective option.


Install a heat pump

Heat pumps are one of the most costs effective means to heat by electricity. Generally, for each KW of electrical power you use you get around 3 KW of heating. However, you can further reduce this by making your heat pump “Smart”. If you have a standard heat pump already installed Smart Installations can install a device that will turn your heat pump into a Smart Heat pump and integrate it into you SmartHome. This way you can turn your heat pump on or off from your smart phone, set Geo boundaries to turn it on or off and even link it to the cost of electricity.


Gas fire

Gas fires are great and it creates an excellent ambience and can produce excellent amounts of heat in quick time. There are now some models you can integrate into your SmartHome environment and be able to turn on, off and set the temperature remotely and on timers. This now gives you the same level of control you have over a heat pump!


Wood fire

Wood fires are an excellent option if you access to cheap or free wood. They create a great dry heat and have an excellent ambience to a home. They are also very good options for people in areas that experience power failures. The down side is that there are many places in the country that have strict regulations on having a wood fire and if you have to pay for the wood, it can be expensive.

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Hot Water Heating

This is the biggest consumer of power that you have in your house. For most areas in New Zealand the power network company controls the hot water via a ripple system to drop load when the load on the network increases. This assists network companies maintain security of supply. However, this reason does not always suit a customer’s usage. By adding in dynamic control via Control4 systems you can now take advantage of TOU (Time of use, see below) tariffs.


Some quick wins are as follows.  

  • Check for leaks. This is a real waste and can easily be remedied

  • If an old cylinder, wrap it. Old cylinders do not have the same level of insulation as new cylinders.

  • Use cold water in your washing machine when you can.

  • Make sure the cylinder is set at 65 degrees celsius, not below. Legionella grows when water is below this temperature, but they cannot survive in temperatures over 60 degrees celsius.



Electrical and appliances use 20% percent of energy and a material percentage of this is being used while appliances are on standby. TV’s, PC’s, consoles, washing machines, dryers, spa pools and swimming pools can be controlled to reduce energy consumption. TV’s can have automatic and remotely controlled supplies, spa and swimming pools can be remotely controlled to ensure the most efficient times are used and if not in use switched to minimum use.

Control4 can control all these devices to control their usage to the appropriate levels.

 ·         Switch off at the wall or use Control4 to achieve this

·         Ensure PC are in shutdown mode not standby.

·         Shorter cycles on the dishwasher.

·         Ensure the seals on your oven are working and if not replace.



Inefficient refrigeration is a large consumer of energy. To increase the efficiency:

  • Ensure seals are well maintained and if there are gaps, get them changed.

  • If upgrading, look for the better rated efficiency.

  • Refrigeration also has the option of load shifting through load control. ( See TOU tariffs)

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Time of Use Tariffs

Time of use Tariffs (TOU) is an excellent way to reduce your power bill. Technically it does not reduce your energy consumption, but does move energy to times of the day that are charged at a cheaper rate.

How it works is that some Energy Retailers offer TOU tariffs where the energy rate is different at different times of the day. To maximise the savings you “move” non-essential loads like, swimming and spa pools, hot water heating, some refrigeration and heating. At Smart Installations we can connect these loads to Control4 and switch them on and off to move the loads. If you are getting Control4 installed for AV, lighting, security it is a simple process to add Energy shifting features to the package. Contact us at Smart Installations for further information.

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Solar is another option. Along with a connected battery you can generate your own power and store it to use when required. Generally for a usual home, when the sun is available for generation, there is not a lot of load on due to most occupants are out at work and school. By having a battery connected and the loads controlled by Control4 you can maximise the energy used by the solar generation. If you want a solar installed at Smart Installation we can arrange a quote and installation. Once you have solar (new or existing) we can then install load control into your home.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss any control options contact us on 0800 021 711