The whole premise of home automation products is to help conserve energy. Our smart home products can integrate renewable energy sources, paving the way for faster and more accurate appliance repairs and reduce waste.
Just looking at lighting and heating controls alone, there are significant savings to be made. The Energy Savings Trust states that homeowners can save 320Kg of carbon dioxide a year by installing and correctly using Home temperature controls* Based on typical savings for a three-bedroom semi-detached home heated by gas. Figures are based on fuel prices as of May 2020.
Additionally, switching or dimming lights in response to presence detection and daylight levels, for instance, can save between 20% and 60% of lighting energy. – Lutron.
But what about the products themselves (materials and packaging)? What happens once products reach end of life?
The UN predicts that in 2021 we will create 52.2 million metric tons of E-waste (one of the fastest-growing streams of waste). Many smart devices contain precious resources that could be recycled if the design allowed.
We would like to see more home automation manufacturers follow the examples set by lighting manufacturers where several ‘take back’ and recycling schemes have been initiated, such as Recolight and the Green Light Alliance.
In general, AV and automation technology membership and trade associations such as CEDIA are not discussing this topic; there are no white papers, statics, or a clear path on tackling this issue at the moment. However, we at IDS are keen to push this agenda and demonstrate the importance of working together to create a cleaner environment for our industry, partners, and clients.
What are we doing?
In response to the industry situation, IDS has devised a process for 2021 to move from linear thinking to a more circular approach.
For refurbishment projects, where we cannot update hardware via software upgrades, we will aim to wipe, reset and remove old equipment.
Where we can, we will upcycle to ensure these products can be utilised wherever possible, donating proceeds to organisations that help create awareness for a circular economy. If equipment is no longer serviceable, then we have partnered with innovative recycling company LITTA.
They recycle 93% of the goods they collect. Our on-site engineers can snap a picture of the old equipment and packaging that needs disposing of and upload it to the LITTA app to arrange collections within the day, who will professionally recycle.
We look forward to being able to post more updates here as the situation within the industry progresses.