Smart Living

The idea of home automation can be daunting if you have never seen a centralised system in action. But rest assured, once you get used to it, you won’t want to live without it.

Taking the effort out of eco-consciousness, while making your life a whole lot easier, home automation brings with it a host of benefits. You save on time and energy consumption, enhance your lifestyle and gain more peace of mind in one fell swoop. When considering this leap into the automated world, though, it’s best that you consult specialists in the field of home automation to guide you through the minefield of what can and can’t be done. In the long run, using knowledgeable experts will give you consistent savings that will offset the initial outlay, with far greater convenience.

Sensitive lighting

No more feeling guilty because you’ve forgotten to turn the lights off as you leave a room. No more nagging others to do the same. A host of movement and ambient light sensors has arrived to do it for you in a far less stressful way.

Although motion sensitive and light sensitive outdoor lighting has been available for many years already, most of these fittings have to be individually linked to the power supply, with separate control switches. Now, in addition to being able to incorporate these aspects of your outdoor lighting into a centralized home automation system, you are able to control your indoor lighting as well. When the lights are turned on, ambient light sensors in each room will adjust the lighting levels depending on the time of day, so that you’re not exposed to more light than you need, but you will always have enough light for whatever you’re doing. When a room is vacated, the lights will automatically be turned off.

You can also control the lighting with dimmers, particularly if you are watching a movie or if you want to set a romantic mood while listening to music. This is not only wonderful for ambience, but is significant in terms of cost saving – research in the United States indicates that while a 25% reduction in light intensity is often hardly noticeable to the human eye, it can reduce electricity consumption by 20% and extend the life of light bulbs up to 4 times longer.

Effortless entertainment

Your house should be the place where you rejuvenate body and soul. It’s here that you would want to unwind, either alone or with family and friends. You don’t want to be tripping endlessly over the wires of various pieces of AV equipment or searching amongst a gaggle of remotes for the very one that seems to have grown legs.

Home automation can solve these problems. You can save your music and movies digitally and store them in a central unit that is kept discreetly out of the way. Then whenever you feel like it, you can programme music to be played, for instance, on the patio. This can be done at the same time that a movie is being played I the home theatre or in one of the bedrooms. Your control is via a single remote or via a touch panel mounted to the wall.

Some centralized systems will even cut the electrical supply to AV equipment that would otherwise remain on a power-hungry standby mode, thereby saving on unnecessary consumption.

Remote access to security

With most home automation systems these days, you are able to be in control, no matter whether you’re at home, just around the corner, or traveling internationally. Via either cell phone or Internet commands, you are able to interface with your system and instruct it to turn lights, radios and TVs on or off, adjust the heating or air-conditioning temperatures and in some cases, open and close curtains and blinds. You can even be alerted in the event of a fire, water leak or break-in.

The spin-off of all of this, over and above the convenience and cost-saving angles, is that you stress less, leaving you free to focus on whatever you are doing in the present moment without distractions. That, and the probable increase in property value that a system like this brings, are great for peace-of-mind.

Article by: - Bev Hermanson - www.designmagazine.co.za
PICTURE COURTESY OF DES LAUBSCHER