When to replace lights?

Lighting accounts for 7 per cent of a typical household’s energy bill.

Cutting your lighting bill is one of the easiest ways to save energy and money. Houses typically use a mixture of standard light fittings and downlighters or spotlight fittings. Energy efficient bulbs are available for both types of fittings.

Changing which bulbs you use and how you use them will instantly save your home energy and money.

Not sure if I should replace those lights? Can Smappee help?

First identify the Appliance, the lights (see other articles to find your appliance).  Once the appliance is identified and you allowed Smappee to collect some usage data for a few weeks, you’ll have reliable data and statistics on that lights energy consumption.

In my case, I looked at TL lights in our dressing room. 

The DNA of this Light appliance shows me this:

This light is ON for a total of 10 days per year (2,7% of the time).  Turns on with a timer when presence is detected in the dressing room!  On average 6 minutes 46 seconds. 

That’s good, we don’t let the lights ON when no one is present.  The power is 101W and is correct ( 2 fluorescent tubes of 51W each).  This light will consume 24 kWh per year at a cost of 6,10 EUR per year. 

 Can I replace the light with more efficient lights with this budget of 6,10 EUR?!

No, and I should not as the light is only used 2,7% of the time, thanks to the presence sensor and the timer.  This light is also very efficient and I found out the TL tubes have an A label according to EEL (European Efficiency Label) standard. 


Changing how we use our lights by implementing control mechanisms and being conscious of our behavioural habits can save money and energy.

Here are a few easy things to help you start saving:

  • Always turn lights out when leaving a room regardless of how short a period it is for
  • Be conscious of how many lights you have on and whether they all need to be in use
  • Arrange light switches so that its convenient to turn them off i.e. place switches at top and bottom of stairs, each end of a hallway and each door to a room
  • Use a sensor and timer on external lights so they are only in use when they need to be
  • Use appropriate lightings i.e. a low back ground light while watching television and a right, concentrated light for reading. By having a range of lights in a room with separate switches will make this easier.



Smappee.. a good investment!

Smappee..  it’s a good Investment!

Buying a Smappee device at 199, EUR including VAT is financially a good investment.  In a previous post, I indicated that the way Smappee provides you insight in your energy usage: real-time feedback with consumption down to the appliance level, will help you save 12% on your energy consumption.

How much savings do I need to pay back my Smappee in 2 years?

Assuming an average energy price of 0,25 EUR per kWh (Day or Night rates, taxes and contributions all together), then a pay back in 2 years will require you to save 100, EUR per year thus reduce your consumption by 400 kWh per year (400 kWh x 0,25 EUR/kWh = 100 EUR).

If this reduction is the result of the 12% savings that can be achieved, how much do we need to consume annually then?  Well 400 kWh * 100 /12 = 3333 kWh per year.  The average Belgian household consumes even more, 3.500 kWh per year. So this should be possible.

Most of us have a higher consumption than the average of 3500 kWh/year!

Most 4-people-households will even consume 5.000 kWh/year and those who really don’t care about their energy footprint, will easily reach 8.000 kWh/year.  And those having a swimming pool, Sauna, Jacuzzi, heat pump will be well above 12.000 kWh/year and generally end up at 20.000 kWh!.  Needless to say how quickly you will pay back your Smappee in such case.

How much return do I get on my Savings account?

Payback in 2 years equals an intrest rate of 50%.  Not just the first two years, but as long as you continue to use Smappee and manage your energy usage footprint. You’ll earn money with it.  Even if you would only be able to save half, still 25% would be achieved.  How much does your Savings account return?

No loss of Comfort!

We understand, that people in general don’t want to lose comfort! I why would we?  So, don’t stop using your sauna, your pool, etc. because you have a Smappee.  Just be aware how much energy they use.  Don’t pre-heat your Sauna hours in advance, that’s it. There is a lot of other useless and wasted energy that you can save on; Standby Power for instance!

400 kWh per year (= pay back 2 years).  Help me me find them?

There are plenty of ways to save energy: replace old, inefficient fridges, shutdown the fridge in the garage that just hold two beers,..

Another easy source of energy savings can be found by looking at the standby consumption of your appliances.  Your TV, Computer, PS console, .. for example. You think they are OFF, but they still consume energy!  Normal, the device must be running in standby mode (lower consumption) to receive that InfraRed command from your remote control in order to turn on the rest of the TV.   Same for the Computer .. a tap on the keyboard wakes it up.   In my case my TV, and Computer each had approximately 30W of standby power!

If you find 50W of standby power that is ON during 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you’ll have an energy savings potential of:  50W x 24h x 365 days = 438.000 Wh or 438 kWh!  (remember at 0,25 EUR per kWh: 438 kWh x 0,25 = 109,5 EUR per year for 50W always on power!


The Bubble screen in the Smappee App shows your actual Consumption (Dark Bubble), your solar or wind production (Green Bubble) and the total Standby Power of all your Appliances in the home (Blue Bubble: 340 W in this screenshot).  The standby power of your home is measured by Smappee and updated every day.  Smappee wants to be sure you effectively reduced the Standby Consumption and will wait 2 days prior to reduce the Blue Bubble value with the amount of Standby Power you have reduced in your home.IMG_0035Smappee will give you an award each time your reduce your Standby Power by 3% and 10%.

How can I find out how much Standby Power this appliance is using?

It’s simple to measure..

Make sure you don’t have to much activity in the house (cleaning, ironing, etc.) and try to have a steady total consumption in the “Dark Bubble”.  The example hereafter shows a value of 1141W as the total power of all your appliances in the house.  This is a real-time power value, updated every 5 seconds.


Look at the increase (+59W) and decrease (-59W) of the total power in the house as a result of switching an appliance ON and OFF.

In order to measure the standby consumption, it’s not sufficient to press the OFF button of your TV.  As explained previously, it is still taking some power.  So take the power cord out of the outlet as this will really shutdown the TV and plug it back in after eg. 30 seconds.  Repeat a number of times and watch the power increases and decreases above the dark bubble (or subtract the two total power values from each other 1200W – 1141W = 59W).  This will give you the power (or standby power) for this specific appliance, TV,  Computer, PS Console, ..

Standby Power, the “RED switch Power Strip” or Smappee’s Comfort Plug?

OK, we understand that we should unplug the power of certain appliances. We can use the traditional “red switch power strip” or use Smappee’s Comfort Plug.  Read how I reduced the standby power of my multi-room audio amplifier.

I have a multi-room audio system with amplifiers to power 24 by 7 those loudspeakers that are built-in into the ceiling.  The power consumption was 40W! By changing the mode (multizone A or AB, etc) of the Amplifier I could bring down that power to 18W.  That’s a saving of 40 -18 = 22W for ever!  22W * 24 hours * 365 =  192 kWh per year or 48 EUR!


But I could further optimise the consumption of the 18W.  The amplifier is used only a few hours when we’re in the kitchen, listening to the radio, streamed via airplay from our iPad.  This is generally when we have breakfast, as we would rather watch TV in the evening.  Note that the amplifier is not located in the kitchen, so I can’t use the remote control.  We would not want another remote control anyway to turn on that Radio.

imagesI could have used a traditional Red switch Power strip, but that’s not convenient.  I can’t sell that solution to my wife.  (go to the technical room where the amplifier is located ..). Strips with wireless control?  Could work. But more expensive and this means yet another remote control in the kitchen.


So I used Smappee’s Comfort Plug.  The plug is wirelessly controlled by Smappee’s built-in Radio Remote Controller. I let Smappee switch OFF the speakers (the amplifier) when nobody is home.  Smappee can detect this based on the level of consumption in the home and the number of appliances that turn on and off (measure of activity).

Smappee’s Inactivity detector:  If Inactivity detected OR consumption under XX then Turn Off Comfort Plug “Radio”) and turn them immediately back on when we need them.IMG_0036

To turn the speakers on when we are in the Kitchen I used the Schedule function, i.e. at 07h in the morning, but it happens that we sleep longer, and inactivity will have turned the speakers OFF again at 08h.

IMG_0037I added the “Expresso” event.  First thing we do at breakfast, is make an Expresso.  I used the Smappee event “Expresso machine ON” to automatically turn ON the plug for a duration of ONE hour. (“If this” condition in Smappee: If Expresso ON then Turn On “Radio” for duration of One hour)in the kitchen (breakfast ..) then the Amplifiers is turned on.


The “Event Log” screenshot illustrates that the “Radio” switched ON event following the  “Expresso” out (coffee ready in 30 seconds).

Smappee’s Brand Manifesto!

You like having control over your own life. You don ́t want to sacrifice comfort.  You don ́t like wasting your own money – or valuable resources. So it ́s time to deal more consciously with our planet’s natural reserves. It ́s time for a change in behaviour. Naturally without sacrificing comfort. Everyone can do their part by reducing energy consumption. And with smappee, you’ve got everything totally under control. So you don ́t have to dramatically overturn your lifestyle.  Ultimately, it entails just a small gesture. With a big win for yourself, but above all for the environment. Saving on Energy is not only good for your wallet, but also helps our Climate!


Revolution Justified!

Military reports warn that impending energy problems will endanger Western society and threaten to weaken ties between states and their citizens, undermining the very foundations of democracy and the rule of law. Energy issues will also set the stage for more aggressive geopolitics and will substantially destroy the ecosystem services on which society is wholly dependent. These are but a few of the impacts that the double energy problem of climate change and oil decline have in store for us.

In this illuminating book, attorney and pragmatic visionary Roger Cox sets out and analyses these energy stress tests, going on to explain why neither the market mechanism nor today’s political model are capable of initiating an energy revolution to solve these issues. This deadlock situation has the potential to bring about the very downfall of Western society, as this book explains, and will at the very least put Western countries at risk of committing domestic human rights violations on a scale nobody had thought to ever see again after World War II.

Precisely this threat of human rights violations puts the judiciary in a position to step in and lead Western governments out of the dangerous deadlock. Drawing and expanding on examples and cases from the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Europe and the European Union, this book demonstrates that the West’s legal systems already contain all the elements needed to achieve an energy revolution faster and more effectively then any other alternative.

Source: Roger Cox, Revolution Justified!

VN-klimaatrapport: België krijgt zware klappen!

Ons land krijgt tegen 2100 af te rekenen met zware overstromingen en torenhoge kosten als gevolg van de stijgende zeespiegel. Die en andere onthutsende voorspellingen staan in een gelekt ontwerp van het nieuwste VN-klimaatrapport.

In de EU rijzen de directe kosten door de zeespiegelstijging tegen eind deze eeuw tot 17 miljard euro per jaar als er geen ingrepen komen om het zeeniveau te bedwingen. België zal, samen met Nederland, Spanje, Italië, Duitsland, Frankrijk en Denemarken, de zwaarste rekening gepresenteerd krijgen, zo staat in het langverwachte nieuwe VN-klimaatrapport dat eind deze maand in Japan wordt voorgesteld.

Naast een hoge prijs voor de zeespiegelstijging moet België zich volgens het VN-klimaatpanel ook voorbereiden op “ernstige afname van de grondwaterbronnen”. Ons land wordt hier samen genoemd met Italië, Spanje en Noord-Frankrijk. Voor België merken de onderzoekers ook op dat we nu al kampen met “aftakeling van de bossen en dode bomen”.

Erger en erger
De andere bevindingen gaan over grotere regio’s, omdat het nu eenmaal erg moeilijk is om voor kleine oppervlaktes zoals ons land exacte voorspellingen te maken. Maar zowel voor Europa als voor de hele wereld gaan de resultaten in één welbepaalde richting: het ziet er niet goed uit. En problemen die er nu al zijn verergeren.

Nooit was het – nochtans extreem voorzichtige – panel zo expliciet. De klimatologen voorspellen miljoenen klimaatvluchtelingen, escalerende conflicten en een ontwrichting van de wereldeconomie.

Tijdens de 21ste eeuw zullen de effecten van de klimaatverandering de economie en de strijd tegen armoede vertragen, de voedselzekerheid aantasten en nieuwe armoedevalkuilen veroorzaken, vooral in stedelijke gebieden”, zo staat in het gelekte voorontwerp.

Bij een temperatuursstijging met 2,5 graden zou de wereldeconomie tot 1.400 miljard dollar per jaar kunnen verliezen. Momenteel is de wereld op weg naar een opwarming met 3,7 graden tegen 2100.

Bron: De Morgen

We can lower our emissions in two ways.

Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are the majority of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The fight against climate change has become a defining feature in energy policy-making, but the implications are daunting. Meeting the emission goals pledged by countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would still leave the world 13.7 billion tonnes of CO2 – or 60% – above the level needed to remain on track for just 2ºC warming by 2035.

We can lower our emissions in two ways. First, by lowering CO2 emissions on the supply side, for example by switching from electricity generation from fossil fuels to renewables, or deploying carbon capture and storage. Second, lower emissions on the consumption side by reducing consumption, substituting use – e.g. using a bicycle for a short journey instead of a car – and improving efficiency. Society’s benefit from these measures is likely to be equal or greater than the cost to the energy sector, even setting aside the climate benefit.

Source: International Energy Agency

Smappee can help you reduce your energy consumption by 12%! How?

A qualitative assessment of 23 studies showed savings up to 12%

when users get Real-Time feedback on their energy usage, detailed down to the appliance level!  That’s why the Smappee concept provides real-time info in the main “Bubble” screen and shows the Power and Consumption of the discovered Appliances (DNA of an Appliance).  See the Bar Graph below and the purple color.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 09.30.48

Why Feedback is Likely to Result in Persistent Savings

Feedback helps consumers to learn the energy consequences of specific behaviours, and that information reduces uncertainty about the effectiveness of new behaviours.

Feedback helps people to establish new habits and they no longer need to be energy conscious all the time. New behaviours become automatic.

Feedback elicits energy conserving behaviours and after a while people adapt their attitudes to their new behaviours and energy conservation becomes a new part of their identity.

A qualitative assessment of all 23 studies, indicated that three-quarters had persistent savings. ƒ An assessment of the 9 longest studies indicated that savings are persistent when feedback is persistent or when feedback is provided in a supportive social environment.

The pitfall:  the novelty of energy feedback may wear off and people will fall back into old habits and practices.  

Persistent Savings with Smappee?

To avoid the pitfall of falling back in old habits;  Smappee combines the “Energy insights and feedback” with other features and benefits.  As such people continue to use their Energy Buddy because they need it in daily life.

The Energy Buddy and its Comfort Plug® provide simple home automation functions that will be used on a daily basis.  Also the “peace of mind” features providing info anytime,  from anywhere (from your smartphone App) to verify if one forgot to turn off the Iron or to check if the kids came home well after school (garage door used, playstation console in use,etc. ), or get a notification when the freezer door is left open, etc.   Those “convenience” features help to make sure users keep using their Energy Buddy.

While using Smappee for convenience and peace of mind checks,  the Buddy, inevitably shows you your Energy Usage, as you have to navigate via the main “bubble” screen, providing that feedback, achieving a long term sustained and persisted saving.


Sources: Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez, Ph.D.  The complete research report is entitled: Advanced Metering Initiatives and Residential Feedback Programs and is available from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy: http://www.ACEEE.org/pubs/e105.htm