Internet of Things in Smart Homes: For Smaller Carbon Footprint
Internet of Things in Smart Homes: For Smaller Carbon Footprint


Feng shui is a chinese philosophical concept where nature is minimally disrupted. It is a harmonious coexistence with a natural flow or closeness between human and the surroundings. Feng shui is believed to increase health, beckon wealth and invite happiness. By minimizing consumption, reducing waste and using only what we need, one can reach closer to this harmony.

Does that mean that we have to sacrifice our luxury and comfort?

Not necessarily. We only need to use our resources more efficiently and in better ways. The inspiration towards a better and smarter world is what drove us to make the personal thermostat, Rumy. Rumy works as a controller for wireless lights, devices and of course, smart thermostats. It leverages many benefits of ioT technology to create an efficient home. Though rumy is not perfect, it is a step towards the world we dream about, a feng shui without sacrificing any comfort.

Internet of Things (or ioT) is fairly recent technology with wireless network backbone. With its biggest application in smart homes, the ioT devices and controllers give unprecedented portability ... but we already know that. The promise of smaller carbon footprint and greater economic benefits are seldom mentioned.

As human we like things that can be physically seen or hold. Wired gadgets are considered more reliable and robust than the wireless counterpart. However, over past couple of decades, wireless technology has evolved and matured significantly and its robustness and reliability have been time-tested to be on par with the wired ones. The benefits of wireless devices far supersedes the wired ones. Here are few thoughts:

# Greener

Wireless devices require very small resources; to install and to work. There are over 100 million houses in the US and each has hundreds of meters of electrical wires. To place a physical switch, It is necessary to bring back and forth wires from the device(s) it is connected to; which can almost double the length of the wires used. On average 1-5% energy gets wasted because of wire resistance, which can be as high as $2 billion wasted annually. To reduce this, thicker wires are usually recommended.

Copper and associated insulation by themselves are not cheap. It requires huge resource (both energy and exposure of human to deadly elements) to bring the core minerals to the shape we see. Switching to wireless devices can reduce the total length of wires used significantly and not to mention, eliminate a big part of the energy waste. But that's not all.

# Reduced fire hazard

41,200 residential fires every year are attributed to electrical fault causing 336 civilian deaths, 1,446 civilian injuries, and $643.9 million in direct property damage per year. The reduced amount of wiring required in a wireless connected home will prevent such damages quite significantly.

# Less Electromagnetic Radiation for body

The wireless switches are dormant and sleeping all the time and only sends a burst of signal when in use. On the other hand, the traditional switches keep carrying current as long as the device is ON. Imagine a current carrying wire running right through the wall by your bed, years after years. Certain cancers (leukemia for children) are indirectly linked to the magnetic fields due to wiring in the residential buildings.

More and more wireless lights, switches and home gadgets are coming to market every year. They all can talk to each other and are evolving towards a point where interoperability is a non-issue. Smart-home is a temporary jargon that we use to define a evolved category of homes. In a very near future all homes will be smart and we will not need to use 'smart' anymore. And in that future, wireless devices, switches and controllers are going to be an integral part, thus a major step towards feng shui.


2015-11-20
Arif Iftakher