Starting with a smart speaker and an internet connection, homes can now be retrofitted with various devices to make them more automated and more energy efficient.

Smart speaker/hub: These days smart speakers are taking over the job smart hubs once had, providing a means to control several wirelessly connected devices from a central location.

Smart thermostat: Wi-Fi enabled thermostats can be programmed to activate heating and cooling on a schedule, or take over the job themselves.

Smart energy panel: Provides more control of individual circuits right at the breaker panel.

Smart lights/switches: Smart bulbs can be set to different hues and light levels. Smart switches can be controlled manually, remotely, or via a schedule.

Smart outlet/power strip: Outlets and power strips can be programmed to control corded devices on schedule. Like most smart devices, a smart speaker enables control of them with voice commands.

Smart water heater: Provides leak detection, remote temperature control and will adjust mode to use patterns.

Electric vehicle (EV) charger: A Level 2 charging unit provides a faster charge from a 240-volt outlet.

Energy storage system: Residential batteries are still in the early phases of adoption and typically supplement rooftop solar systems. But as lithium-ion batteries become more affordable, they could provide homeowners a reliable, clean, quiet, and cost-effective source of backup power.

Community solar: North Carolina’s electric cooperatives currently maintain 18 community solar farms around the state, allowing members to subscribe to the energy output from a panel or panels.

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