Track Your Home’s Energy Usage with Apple’s New Smart Home App

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Apple’s iPhone 15 launch event focused heavily on the company’s transition to carbon neutrality, but it also unveiled a new smart home function that can help you leave a smaller carbon impact on the earth.

Grid Forecast, which debuted with iOS17, is a new tool in the Apple Home app that displays whether your electrical grid has relatively clean or less clean energy sources available. This could assist you in deciding when to run your tumble dryer or charge your EV to take advantage of “cleaner” energy when your usage is higher.

Grid Forecast is available in the Home app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch devices running this fall’s soon-to-be-released updates, with iOS 17 slated for a September 18th public debut. It is also accessible as an iOS widget and a watch face complication, and it is only available in the United States.

When you use electricity in your house, you can lessen the impact on the planet by utilizing cleaner energy, such as wind or solar energy or electricity produced with lower emissions.

While Apple’s initial implementation of this feature is entirely manual — you must check the Home app to see when the energy is cleaner and then decide whether or not to charge your EV — it’s possible that it could be linked to automation if and when Apple supports energy management features natively in its smart home platform.

Apple already has a clean energy charging function in iOS 16.1 that will charge your phone when cleaner energy is available. The next logical step should be to automate smart home gadgets to do the same. Microsoft may even schedule your Windows Update for a time when there is more green energy available.

The smart home is uniquely positioned to assist in the automation of this type of energy management, and other smart home platforms have enabled comparable functionalities. For example, Samsung’s SmartThings Energy service allows you to observe real-time energy usage from your connected appliances and provides energy-saving advice.

Samsung recently incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that can automate some energy-saving measures and link with the Electricity Maps service to display real-time information about your energy sources and their carbon intensity, allowing you to better manage your carbon footprint.

According to Apple, Grid Forecast uses data that integrates grid, emissions, and weather information to show you whether energy is clean or dirty in a simple visual. It’s a solid starting point for home energy management, but adding the ability to automate how and when your home uses this clean energy is required to make it more than just another data point.

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