I think my home's electrical consumption has gone up with SH adoption, as I was already controlling the heavy appliance loads. Most of my HE devices have been for comfort & convenience. Case in point would be adding a SH pump to cycle hot water throughout the house.
I would also add that "smart" is also dependent on how smart the person and/or system is that implements it. Not meant as any slight on you, you admitted the smarts in your home were known as not being for energy reduction.
Yeah, Huffpost is not exactly known for their technical prowess. I am convinced that Z-Wave is NOT ready for prime time. And, my electrical consumption has also gone UP with my use of home automation.