SMART HOUSE — Distant Tomorrow, Where You Don’t Have to Pay for Water and Electricity

7:30 am. 2025. The fitness bracelet on your wrist detects REM sleep, activating the appropriate sensors — Smart Home comes to life. Floor on the way to the kitchen starts to warm up, blinds are drawn, and the water in the shower is being heated to a comfortable temperature. By the time you are up, your smart coffee maker updates the functionality with a dozen new coffee recipes, your refrigerator sends an order to the nearest supermarket, and the control system is finding ways for you to cut the consumption of water, heat, and electricity…

Robotics, CPS, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and the convergence of technologies — on the verge of the 4th technological revolution, almost every household item will be connected to a worldwide network and have the prefix “smart.” Hence the question: if already today smart cars drive on autopilot and solar energy, why are our houses are still continuing to burn expensive gas?

Not so long ago I first came across an interesting project. Ukrainian physicist and businessman Maxim Gerbuta offers an innovative concept of (free standing) single family house PassivDOM, where theoretically you don’t need to pay for power and water. The House is using alternative energy sources and taking care of the environment and also your wallet.

The creator says that the frame of the house is printed on a 3D printer in 8 hours, by six KUKA industrial robots, and then is sheathed with panels, insulated with patented materials and furnished with IKEA furniture. Ventilation, air conditioning, lights and household appliances PassivDOM work using solar panels. According to the calculations of the developers, the heat loss of the construction is so minimal that the sun’s energy is going to be enough for heating and operation of appliances even in winter. The batteries can keep the temperature indoors +22–23 Celsius with temperatures outdoors being close to -62 C. For comparison, if an ordinary house in winter cools off in 10 hours, while an innovative house will retain heat up to 300 hours.

PassivDOM water supply is provided by stand-alone water tanks with volume up to one ton. Much of the water is filtrated, therefore it can be reused. The air temperature in the rooms is controlled by a “smart” thermostat, which maintains comfortable temperature level responding to trajectory of person’s movements. The cost of this home on the market will fluctuate between 30,000 and 60,000 dollars depending on the content. The price is quite acceptable by today’s standards. Print and live.

If you are not ready to part with such a large sum of money, another Ukrainian Eugene Eric, offers you an opportunity to save on electricity with his startup — smart blinds SolarGaps. Eugene’s gadget allows you to generate up to 100 kilowatts of power from one window on the sunny side. To maximize energy savings, blind’s battery changes the angle to the sun depending on the time of day using a special application on a smartphone.

According to the creator, SolarGaps installed on the sunny side of the two-bedroom apartment, can produce up to 100 kW per month (with average statistical consumption of 200–250 kW). The resulting solar energy is sent to the network via cable and powers the household electrical appliances. According to Eugene, the surplus of electricity can be saved, accumulated, and even sold for profit to Kyivenergo with the “green rates”(4 UAH / kW).

The SolarGaps project was presented at the Kiev IForum 2016, and has already received a lot of positive reviews. One smart window gadget’s creator estimates at around US $300, a full transition to autonomous power supply is possible with equipping 10 square meters of windows and buying a battery for the accumulation of a TeslaPowerWall.

Today, many global manufacturers offer solutions that allow one to save resources wisely. Compact device WeMo Insight Switch from Belkin is perfect for the extremely forgetful. WeMo is controlled through home Wi-Fi and calculates energy consumption of each individual appliance. Smart thermostat Nest will take care of the issue of energy savings. During the day, Nest collects information on the use of household appliances, and then generates an optimal schedule for them to turn on and off. Nest can lower the temperature in the room when the residents are not there and bring it to a comfortable level for their return. In addition, the thermostat is connected to a fitness UP24 bracelet and transmits a signal to the gadget to wake up the owner only when the room temperature is optimal.

On the average, the smart home system allows you to save 10% to 40% on energy costs. Experts estimate the ROI of this technology can range from 3 to 10 years, but with the constant rise in prices for energy this time will only continue to decline.

In addition to competent spending, a smart home can be connected to the online payments service, and will make payments for water, electricity and gas, while remaining in the framework of the amount dedicated to it. In case of a limit increase, the house will inform the owners of the overuse and offer optimization measures. These are fundamentally new standards of resource consumption.

Interest in alternative sources of energy is increasing, along with the demand for energy in general. This is already a global trend. It is time to stop paying sky-high rates and come to terms with utilities system. The movement towards competent consumption and smart savings starts with you. The sooner we put it into service, the faster our “smart” tomorrow will come.

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