11 Sep 2018

Home automation: bring your self-build to life

While planning and budgeting for your self-build, you’ve probably had a good think about what you want it to look like, how it functions as a home and how it performs in terms of energy efficiency. Many self-builders also like to have the latest digital technology incorporated within their homes – from heating and lighting to audio-visual systems. These devices are all designed to make life easier, and give the homeowner more control of variables commonly found in the home. What’s slightly ironic about these ‘smart’ systems, however, is that they all have their own controls – whether it’s an app, a switch, remote control or motion detector – and when these systems fail to cooperate with one another, it can be slightly inconvenient to homeowners.

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So what if there was a more convenient way of controlling these systems, and improving the efficiency of the technology in your self-build? Allan Corfield Architects, with the help of Nick Thomson, Director of Connected AV, explain more.

What are the benefits of a smart home automation system?

A well-planned and executed smart home installation should bring many benefits, but primarily the aim is comfort, convenience and control.

A common connection between all the various systems in the house should allow more global control; for example, an ‘away’ button on a switch at the front door turns all internal lights and music off, but illuminates the drive and porch for five minutes until you have left. Equally, a ‘home’ button could illuminate the pathway through the house to the kitchen for when you are arriving home carrying shopping bags.

A home automation system can also cut down on the amount of switches/sensors/controls that are on your wall. If you have many independent systems, traditionally, they will all come with something that needs to be installed to allow you to use the system. The difficulty with this is that it can lead to a rather clustered look, and can be confusing to operate. These could all potentially be replaced by one switch to run the lighting control for both rooms, read the temperature, turn the music on – and the schedule for the floor would be controlled in the app. Overall, it is a big gain in aesthetic appeal, particularly when most manufacturers' controls all look vastly different.

Another benefit of tying systems together is that they might be working against each other, unless closely monitored. Take, for example, a home with a UFH heating system, and also an AC system. Without a common link between them you could have the heating on and also the AC running at the same time, depending on what set points have been selected. Why not have one system that decides if the room needs heating, or cooling?

If you’re going away on holiday, smart home automation can be really advantageous. After selecting ‘holiday mode’ on the system, as you leave the house you know that the UFH is off except to protect against frost; the AC is off; the towel rails won’t turn on and all the lights and music are off. Presence simulation is taking care of switching on/off lights in the evening as if you are living there, adding to the security of the house. Of course, at any time you can remotely connect to it, look at your CCTV cameras – and when you are heading home, you can turn the house back on so that it is warm when you walk through the door.

Further information....

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