Domus is working to pave the way to combining home automation and smart home energy, a welcome development that is overdue. The Domus smart home Kickstarter campaign, much like Zuli that came before it, is using smart plugs not only to give you a smart home, but also to help you chart your energy needs and make changes to save money.
Because this is a Kickstarter campaign that still doesn’t have full funding, there’s no full guarantee that Domus will make it to market. But the concept represents some of the best options for energy monitoring and control without forcing you to wait for your power company to offer the right features. If you want to contribute some money, head over to the crowdfunding page. If you want to learn about the latest in smart energy devices and related products, keep on reading.
Domus Smart Home: Appliance Control
The first idea that Domus gets right is how it lets you both monitor and control your appliances. Monitor apps like Kill a Watt are well and good, but a monitor app in combination with a smart control app is a real win. Using an Android or iOS phone, users can communicate with your existing appliances: There’s no need to upgrade to a smart meter or a brand new product, you just use the accompanying smart plug and the Domus app will take care of the rest. It’s an especially applicable solution for space heaters and other plug-in appliances that are big energy hogs.
Set up multiple Domus smart home plugs around your house, and you can also create scenes that turn several lights and appliances to specific settings. This is an important quality for modern smart devices to have. These “scenes” are growing more and more common as consumers look for new ways to operate multiple devices at once. It may not offer the motion sensors of a smart plug like Zuli.
Of course, the Domus smart home solution is not the only plug to help save energy – other plugs on the market track energy and even give you updates about their status. This is something that far fewer smart plugs offer. Certain smart meters will give you information about how much electricity your house is, in general, using, but they struggle when it comes to giving information for particular devices. Products like Nest can do a good job of automating your HVAC system, but rarely give you any information about the exact amount of energy that you are using.
Domus shows the way forward here by finding a middle ground. The app will monitor the activity of all plugged-in devices and then offer you reports. If some appliances, especially important devices like portable heaters, are running for too long, the app can alert you and allow you to turn them off remotely, a great boon if you are at work and forgot to turn something off.
To help save energy, Domus also tracks how much energy and carbon devices use, then adds some calculations you can use to reduce your electrical bill. Since the largest energy users in a house are the heating and cooling units, Domus is designed specifically for apartments, lofts, studios and other smaller areas that depend primarily on plug-in heaters and air conditioners. For larger houses, smart meters are still an overall solution for monitoring energy usage, but only if power companies have installed them.
Paving the Way for Smart Energy
The Domus smart home Kickstarter offers one smart plug for a $39 pledge (assuming the project meets its goals), which is also very competitive pricing for this kind of device. Kickstarter has proven to be a hotbed for these kinds of innovative smart devices that will doubtless inspire future creation, even if they do not always meet their goals.
If you are looking for an energy app that you can buy today, you still have a few options. WattBuddy, Leafully and other apps will help you track your electricity. However, they lack many of the smart functions that make solutions like Domus so easy to use. If you are looking for a smart plug that can offer detailed information for single device, consider preordering something like the Zuli, which offers similar features as Domus but without a focus on scenes.