The rise of internet-connected devices, from phones to thermostats, is changing the way we live, work, and commute. By the time your Uber driver arrives, you can already have turned off your lights, locked your door, and lowered your A/C—all from the palm of your hand.

These advances are made possible by innovation in communications, controls, and sensing. According to a 2016 consumer survey, more Americans are planning on installing “smart” devices and systems during home renovations. Seeing this momentum, manufacturers are working to increase connectedness opportunities and offer new functionalities to traditional building systems and appliances that make life more convenient and comfortable.

So, just how smart is your home? Check out these three innovative products that have hit the market in the last 5 years and are changing the way we live today.

Connected Lighting

These systems have the capability to not only drastically improve the energy performance of lighting and other building systems, but can also enable a wide array of services, benefits, and revenue streams that would enhance the value of lighting systems. 

Connected Thermostats

Internet-enabled, programmable thermostats allow homeowners to wirelessly monitor and control a home’s heating and cooling remotely from a smartphone or tablet. Many models can automatically lower heating and cooling when you are out of the home, reducing energy waste.

Automated Smart Window Attachments

Automated blinds or shades that you can control automatically, adjusts the amount of shade and heat entering your home. This controls how much light enters your house and can help avoid heat loss on cold days and heat gain on hot days.

Smart vs. Efficient

But being “smart” doesn’t always mean a connected device will save you energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting early-stage research and development in the components that power many of these technologies to help ensure that “smart” also means energy efficient. Within the Building Technologies Office, DOE researches cyber-physical systems for building energy management and works on advanced sensors, predictive analytics that anticipate both consumer preference and energy demand, and fault-detection for equipment and building systems.

Technological advancements and industry innovation can result in products and services that are easy to use, convenient, and save energy.