Using a Home Automation System to Reduce Energy Consumption

It may seem strange to use a home automation system to save energy – after all won’t the control system itself use energy? Surely a minimalist approach to electrical hardware is the best way to save energy?

A well designed home automation system can provide huge benefits and savings in energy consumption:

Lighting Control

Lighting control systems can save substantial amounts of energy. The dimming mechanism can save up to 70% of the energy of a non-dimmed lamp which when coupled with activity detection and daylight sensing can save huge amounts of energy. Put simply the home automation system will determine if the room is occupied and if it is whether the existing light level is sufficient. Big businesses have been using this technology for years, and making huge savings, and now the likes of Crestron have started releasing lighting keypads with light sensors built in for the domestic market.

Heating Control

There are many ways a home automation system can save on the costs of heating your home – individual thermostats in each room ensure the house is never over heated and allow temperatures to be reduced when the room is not occupied. These temperature reductions can even be tied in to your alarm system so setting the alarm when you leave the property will reduce the required temperatures, even a few degrees savings can reap substantial savings. Individual controls of different rooms can allow different temperatures throughout the home, similar to the radiator temperature dials we are all used to but much more reliable. A home automation system also comes in to its own with renewable energy solutions – biomass boilers and stoves can be controlled to ensure maximum efficiency. As an aside it is also worth considering convenience – imagine being able to dial up your ski chalet on the last run of the day to switch the stove on – ensuring a welcoming warm lounge when you get home!

Intelligent Power Switching

Switching things off when not required is an easy way to save energy. Modern equipment has been designed to use a lot less power when in standby which is why our control systems are programmed to switch devices off when they are not required. With certain devices – which we know to be inefficient even in standby – we can automatically switch off all power to the devices. Our modern multi-room amplifiers are Class D models which means each output has it’s own power supply and consequently only portions of the amplifier are switched on at any one time.

Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning

Although we have already covered Heating Control it is important to think of heating as part of the bigger picture. Modern buildings tend to contain a lot of glass which can cause temperature swings – too cold part of the time or too hot when the sun is streaming through the windows. The same Crestron heating thermostats can let us know when the temperature is rising and, coupled with the lighting keypad light sensors, determine if the blinds should be closed. This pre-emptive measure can save huge amounts in air conditioning costs whilst protecting the fabric of the room. Security can also be increased by closing the curtains or blinds when darkness falls. Control of air conditioning can not only make the system easier to use but ensure the system is only operating when the room is occupied and the conditions demand it.

Steps on How to Pick a Home Automation System

A smart home system isn’t necessarily for high-end homes. Here are some tips in putting automation into your home.

You may have seen the homes of famous celebrities on lifestyle shows. Their so-called smarthome, with remote controls for the lights, heating, and cooling, wireless alarm system, home theater system, and even window curtains, have truly amazed us. Though home automation may appear pricey, it doesn’t necessarily mean that only celebrities can take advantage of its futuristic features. Here are some tips on putting up your own home automation system without breaking the bank.

First and foremost, as a reminder, each individual system, such as the lighting, home security systems, home theater system, and heating and cooling, is a subsystem in a general home automation system. As much as possible, install your automation system when your home is still in the building or remodeling process. By doing this, you can save money on rewiring and remolding needed for your system’s peripherals.

Steps

1. Come up with ideas. Go online or check lifestyle magazines and see what’s new and available in your area. You may also look at yellow pages and price shop on services of a Contractor, Plumber, Painter or Electrician.

2. Brainstorm on what you’d like to automate. You may just start small, maybe with just the lights. From there on, you can expand by adding other functions. Aside from lighting and heating and cooling, security cameras for home can be linked with your home theater system, giving total control on your fingertips.

3. Know your budget. Prices can range from a few hundred dollars for a basic system to thousands of dollars for a more sophisticated whole-house automation system.

4. Be sure that the system you’ll go for will work with your existing furnace and other electrical appliances. You may, however, need to change your light switches, alarm and thermostat controls.

5. Position the master control panel in a convenient location, where everyone in the house has easy access to.

6. You may go for a system that utilizes powerline or radio frequency controls if you’re automating an existing home. These can save you money from extra wiring installation for controls. However, these systems tend to be less flexible than systems that function with low-voltage wiring.

7. Pick a system that you can monitor and control remotely. These modern innovations that you’ll surely benefit from can give you the power to shut down the house as you leave and check its status when you’re away. Remote access can usually be achieved through the telephone or internet-based controls.

8. Wireless controllers are also available. Present controllers are usually touch-screen and are programmable. These controllers make perfect sense, especially for senior citizens and physically challenged individuals, since they work anywhere in the house.

9. Partner your system with an uninterruptible power supply to maintain convenience even if the power goes off.

10. If you’re planning to pair products from a variety of companies, be sure that they’re compatible with each other. Choose a system that gives you maximum flexibility.

Linux Home Automation Systems – The Phoenix Of This Era

Home automation systems have become highly popular and are widely available today. The home computer can be used to control the devices and gadgets in the home, by installing the necessary hardware and software. The Linux software allows you to hook up every electronic device in your home to it.

The X10 is one of the first, well known home automation device that is compatible with Linux software. X10 are devices that you may plug into the electrical outlet that allows you the control of the different electronic devices that are plugged into the module. These X10 devices can even be integrated into the light switches to enable you to control lights in the various rooms, remotely. Some may even be set up in climate control devices for automatic operation.

The Firecracker is a device that allows you to control all the X10 devices through a serial port of the home computer. Bottlerocket and GtkX10 two Linux programs allow the control of the X10 modules via the Firecracker device. This is a Linux add-on that costs only $5.95 and consists of a receiver, lamp module and a remote control for operation of the X10 devices. Some manufacturers are developing devices that are compatible to any version of Linux software. These will enable you to control all the home automated devices through Linux software installed in your home PC.

Linux is the best program to be developed to act as a server and for internet connectivity. Therefore, Linux can be deemed to be the best choice for controlling home automation systems. A single click of the mouse will enable you to control the home automation system. Remote control programs can be installed for Linux, thus making it possible to remotely access your PC through internet connectivity. This means that you can remotely control the lights or the security system through the internet.

Automated features can be scheduled with the help of Linux. Scheduling of the lights to switch on or off can also be programmed with Linux. This means additional security for your home or office. You may preprogram the climate control device or the audio system to start at a particular time. You no longer need to struggle with the switches once you reach home; it is already taken care of by the home automation system.

The Linux system is the cheapest home automation system and you can easily install one with the different program versions of Linux and add-on devices. Linux software can be used to gain access to the electronic gadgets and equipment in your home.

With Linux system, home automation is a cheap and affordable convenience. All you require is the software and hardware to be installed in your computer to control all the devices in your house. Life becomes a bit easier and comfortable with home automation systems and using Linux makes it affordable to many.