How we use energy as part of our daily lives is no longer something that is relegated to background noise status. Instead, energy use and efficiency now forms a main focus in many debates and there are many energy tech trends which you should embrace to make the most of this situation.
As a series of energy reports from npower makes clear, accurately understanding how energy costs are arrived at is complicated. Their CEO, Paul Massara, posted a helpful video that gave an insightful interview of their Energy Explained event which aims to demystify some of the common misconceptions concerning energy.
For example, did you know there are actually more than 140 companies involved with producing, supplying and trading energy in the UK and that your supplier is only responsible for around 20% of energy prices? It is figures like this that certainly put things into perspective and encourage energy tech trends.
Energy generation and monitoring energy use are two big areas where embracing new technology will start to have a real impact in the short-term.
There are two main schemes being implemented by the government to encourage the generation of renewable energy: Feed-in Tariff (FIT) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The FIT scheme offers flexibility and sustainability to customers, without compromising on quality of supply. Customers using solar panels at home get paid for the electricity they generate, as well as that they export to the grid. However should they need to receive extra power from the grid they still have access to this.
RHI comes into force this year and works in a similar way to the FIT scheme. According to the Solar Trade Association, this scheme offers payments ranging from £1,150 to over £3,000. While this will vary according to the size and nature of the unit, it’s a credible difference maker in terms of environmental, cost and consumption concerns.
When it comes to monitoring energy use, there are a number of small tech options to embrace. Energy monitors offer a snapshot of your actual energy usage, allowing you to estimate the cost and environmental impact of this. This can help you understand whether you’re spending too much on energy and need to start finding ways to reduce this.
Smart meters are becoming a compulsory bit of small tech, expected to be rolled out nationally in 2015. These devices will be really useful for getting more accurate and regular readings, which are sent directly to energy suppliers to eliminate estimated bills.
Much like the FIT and RHI schemes backed by the government, industry schemes are designed to save households money by investing in energy efficiency.
The best example is the Green Deal scheme that provides loans to people to fix the most energy inefficient aspects of their home – such as fitting wall and loft insulation and installing double glazed windows. These loans are paid for through energy bills out of the money saved by having the work done.
While not direct action, selecting a green energy certified tariff is a step toward hybrid technology for homes. Independently certified, each tariff requires an equivalent amount of green power to be bought or renewable schemes invested incomparable to the conventional power generation impact.