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Top tech versus top tips in the home

The collision of smarter homes and smarter phones is bound to throw up some interesting developments. One that has piqued wide interest is the launch of a new thermostat which its makers claim learns your heating behaviours with the potential to cut nearly a third from your heating bill.

It is claimed that the Nest Learning Thermostat removes the need to programme your boiler, sensing when the house is empty and also offering smart phone connectivity. This device isn’t cheap, starting at £179, so perhaps it’s worth seeing how your very zeitgeist neighbour gets on first, while continuing to check out our tips to save on your energy bills.

Remote controlling your heating may not be for everyone just yet, and indeed there are reasons for some concern that some demographic groups, such as the elderly, might be excluded from any potential benefits. However, recent reports have suggested a steep rise in internet access by over-65s, which is being strongly linked to smart phone and tablet use.

Tumble dryers are a major energy-user but if you have to use one there are a number of ways to increase the efficiency of your dryer. Yet to be included in our tips is a new invention which is starting to gain some devotees. The EcoEgg is far more prosaic in form than a cloud-connected intelligent thermostat but makes similarly bold efficiency claims. The plastic bobbly eggs are claimed to lift and separate your clothes in the dryer while absorbing and radiating heat, and in doing so, potentially reduce drying time by up to 28 per cent (with 21 per cent at the lower end in testing). It’s also said that their texture softens clothes without the need for a chemical softener, so potentially an added sustainability benefit there too.

Testing remains key with all such new potential additions to our homes, while making proven new products affordable to all is another key issue. There’s no one great technological solution to home energy use, whether online or off, but developments in both areas are certainly intriguing.

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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