For little while now the two major manufacturers of electrical and electronic components (HPM and Clipsal) have had a "smart home" electrical system as part of their offerings. HPM have icontrol and Clipsal c-bus.
The systems allowed the user to fully program and control the environment in their home such as lighting to come on in certain areas at predetermined times and power to come on to certain appliances at a given time. The systems are controlled via keypads or even via your mobile phone. Previously the thoughts on usage was aimed at making peoples lives easier and more convenient.
Only recently has the thinking started to include how these systems can reduce your energy consumption and consequently reduce you green house gas emissions. An infinite array of possibilities exist to micro control lighting and power that isn't possible with conventional electrical wiring. Lights can be set to PIR units to only come on when people enter the room, background lighting can be preset to dimming or hot water pumps can cycle hot water at a given time to ensure that hot water is instantly available.