Perhaps you’ve noticed Andre Gerrmann through your social media channels: recently he was featured in a Dutch TV Programme called ‘Cashing with Green’, in which he proudly showed off his smart home. With his setup of 44 solar panels, 3 inverters and 1 smart home hub called Homey he managed to bring his monthly €155 energy bill down to just €20! We wanted to know his secret.
Andre lives in Heerhugowaard, a town in the North of the Netherlands, with his wife and two sons. He’s made himself quite the smart home over the past few years, and has always been very interested in gadgets. The family lives in a ‘green’ home. It’s so efficient that he has been interviewed on national TV about green energy and savings.
Andre, formerly an avid ‘petrolhead’, recently changed to an electric car. “What an invention! It’s a shame we haven’t started developing this earlier.” He’s had numerous smart products in and around his home over the past few years. Because of his curious nature he wants to try everything at least once. In Homey he found a smart home controller that combines his enthusiasm and turns it into productivity: Everything can become useful. Nowadays, everything that’s brought into the house has to be compatible with Homey – a smart home hub that connects all devices and make them work together.
Andre tells us that his Homey is set exactly so that he can see how much energy his three inverters produce. Depending on the energy produced, all sorts of different actions are set in to motion, like turning on the washer, dishwasher or heat boiler. He ties everything together with hardware by Plugwise.
Through the Homey app for Plugwise he found a smart way to see how well his energy supply is functioning. Homey’s ring shows how much energy is being used and/or if there’s energy being returned to the grid. A red ring means Andre’s family is using a lot of energy, a green ring shows there’s hardly any energy being used, and a blue ring tells the family that the solar panels are returning energy to the grid. Homey has a prominent spot in the living room, so that Andre exactly knows how green his home is at any given time.
Transferring to electrical heating
It’s extremely comforting to have this much insight into your family’s energy usage. The family always knows what amount of energy is going where. However, saving doesn’t come easily. And certainly not if you want to save as much as Andre. This is partly due to the presence of 44 solar panels, but also due to the fact that Homey controls a lot of devices with energy preservation in mind.
The biggest savings are due to the fact that the family uses a lot less of gas for heating. As long as the solar panels build up an energy supply, the entire home is being heated through air heat pump, or airconditioning. This is possible so long as it’s allowed to net your generated energy: That way you can generate energy during summer and use it in the winter.
Cold showers and energy-eaters
Aside from the switch to electrical heating, the family took on another few measures to reduce their energy usage with a little help from Homey:
- Doors are often left open. A habit that can cost a lot of energy during wintertime. They’ve made a Homey Flow that reports a door is left open after 1 minute based on the state of door sensors. This report is being repeated every 5 minutes thereafter, until somebody closes said door. This Flow is only running during the colder months of the year, and involves everybody in closing doors, thus saving energy.
- Devices that are season-dependant, such as electric blankets, are automatically turned on and off, so that nobody accidentally leaves them on unnecessarily.
- During winter, the sun blinds automatically go down in the evening to preserve the warmth inside the house. During summertime, the sunblinds automatically go up in the evening, to make sure everybody wakes up pleasantly.
- And our personal favourite: The kids have a tendency to take very long showers. That’s why Andre used Homey to run the shower through a timer. After 8 minutes of warm water, the boiler is switched off with a smart socket.
All of this contributes to a drastic decrease of the energy bill. It did cost some time and effort, but the results are impressive.
Want to know more about Homey? Find it here: https://athom.com