Home automation lets you:
- Control lights or heating from your phone
- Simulate occupancy with lighting
- Adjust your heating remotely, maybe in specific rooms
- Dim your lights throughout the home using scenes
- Programme irrigation systems according to the weather
- Monitor energy usage
Whether you are building a new home from the ground-up, refurbishing an existing property or simply looking to improve your existing home, there is much to be gained from home automation technologies.
We can offer solutions suitable for new-construction or retrofit applications - including fully wireless systems.
Major benefits of automation technologies include:
- Comfort improvements - optimised lighting and heating in every room
- Energy savings - avoid wasting heat and electricity in unoccupied rooms
- Safety and security - easily monitor status of alarms and control entry systems
- Ease of use - fewer switches and a common user interface for all systems
- Aesthetics - reduce wall clutter
We can design, install and program control systems using equipment from a number of manufacturers. For overall control we typically use Control4, Crestron or RTI. These control systems can then integrate with common third party systems such as Lutron, iLight and Heatmiser to provide fully customiseable environmental control and with AV equipment from any manufacturer to prove whole-house entertainment.
Home automation isn't just about putting all the buttons in one place, though - systems can interact or even work autonomously. For example, you might like to have a 'welcome home' scene activated when you drive through your gates when it is dark; or have a single button to turn off all lighting, stop music, close the gates and set the alarm. All this and more is possible with a well-designed and well-programmed automation system.
The exact figures varies depending on the reports you read, but studies show that (on-average) heating accounts for 25-35% of your annual energy bill. This could be significantly higher in older properties with poorer insulation.
Most homes in the UK are fitted with a single thermostat and the system is balanced with TRVs. Unless you turn the TRVs down when rooms are not in use, this means that the whole home is heated unnecessarily.
With an intelligent heating system, the temperature of each room is measured individually and heat only supplied to that room when required. This means that you don't have to pay to heat 4 bedrooms when only the study, hallways and kitchen really need to be heated, for example. The result can be a huge saving in fuel costs and a significant carbon footprint reduction.
The most popular solution for heating control in the UK at present is Heatmiser. Wired and wireless version of the system are available and temperature sensors can be fitted discretely to rooms, whilst the thermostats are hidden in a plant area. Other solutions include Lightwave RF, Legrand Arteor, Househeat and Honeywell. For large or complex systems, we can interface with a building management system (BMS) to provide automation and a user-friendly interface.
A lesser proportion of energy is used by lighting - 10-15% according to most studies. That is not to say that a lighting control and dimming system cannot save energy.
Dimming saves energy in almost direct proption - for example, do the lights really need to be at 100% at 8pm on a summer evening? We can reference lighting to the ambient (daylight) intensity, so that you are never left in the dark and never wasting energy. Occupany detection (PIRs, microwaves and logic) can help to ensure lights are not left on when rooms are not in use. Maximum dimming levels can be capped. Combined, these approaches can result in a noticeable cost saving.
The other significant benefit of a lighting control system is comfort and aesthetics. Modern LED fittings often do not dim reliably with standard in-wall dimmers. Systems such as Rako, Lutron, Helvar and iLight all offer ways of dimming LEDs to low levels without flicker. Scene dimming allows presets for e.g. cooking, dining, entertaining to be recalled at the press of a button or according to an astronomical clock. Combined with an automation system, functions such as 'welcome home' and 'all off' are easily implemented.