Home Automation, or scaleable power is the ability to better and more efficiently control all of the electrical equipment in ones home. It can include the control of everything from lighting & heating, to automatic blinds, shutters & gates, multi-room audio, and even to the powering on and off of everyday domestic appliances such as washing machines, kettles, coffee makers, alarms, air conditioning etc.
In simple terms, home automation refers to the installation of a cable and control modules to allow interaction with your home from push buttons and LCD touch screens. From these the homeowner can turn any device connected to the system on/off, can control motorised mechanisms up/down or open/close, can change lighting/heating environments.
The more complex aspect to home automation is where it is used to manage the efficient use of energy within the home.
Through the use of sensory input modules such as thermostats, darkness detectors, motion detectors and the use of logic based programming the system can be instructed to more efficiently manage the use of energy within the home – lights and heat only being used when they are necessary and appropriate.
Also all heating, lighting, and alarm/emergency systems can be remotely accesses and controlled to ensure the minimum required energy usage and the best efficiency.
So why should someone building a new home want a Home Automation system?
Home Automation is particularly important in Countries where the ability to control the temperature in the home is vital. Automation of heating and or air conditioning can be essential to maintaining a comfortable environment in very warm or cold climates, especially when this means that the home automates the desired environment before the home owner arrives. Aside from extreme climate environments, there are achievable savings that can be made in terms of energy usage through the use of a power management / home automation system. By ensuring that no more heat or light is used than is required, energy savings can be achieved.
In terms of lighting, any number of mood lighting scenarios can be created and achieved at the touch of a button. In fact complicated series of actions can all be combined and assigned to one button.
For example – at the push of a button a “home cinema” scenario could be initiated where one set of lights turns off, another dims to a specified level, a motorised TV/projector screen comes down automatically, motorised blinds come down and the DVD player powers on.
Also, most automation systems now include GSM modules for giving commands to the home remotely from a mobile phone, or in reverse to receive warning signals on your mobile from the home sensors such as motion detectors, fire sensors, door contacts etc.
Through the use of these kinds of features home automation gives the homeowner an infinitely greater control over their environment and the services and appliances they possess, as well as giving better control over the energy usage of the home.
So what can home automation do for me?
A home automation system will allow you from any push button switch, or LCD screen to turn on/off any device/appliance in your home. It will allow you to regulate/automate the heating system to only be on as needed to maintain specified temperatures in designated areas, and at specified times. It will allow you to customise lighting moods / scenarios, and have them assigned to any buttons. Lights can also be in tune with sensory inputs around the home such as the PIR’s (movement detectors) darkness detectors etc…
For example – Lights could automatically come on once its dark, during hours that you specify that you are generally home, but only in rooms where movement has been detected. Conversely, if lights were already on, they could be switched off automatically if no movement is detected.
For example – Rooms could be programmed with a temperature level that is desired during programmed hours. With the use of temperature probes connected to the automation system, the heating system could be used just to regulate the desired temperature rather than as a constant on/off.
Multiroom audio can be controlled in various rooms at the touch of a common keypad.
A mobile phone could be used while at work or away on holidays to turn on/off any device or appliance, turn on/off lighting remotely to simulate your presence in the home while not there, turn on/off heating or alarm system or to receive status messages on alarm or emergency issues from the home.
Open the front gate / garage door moments before you arrive home.
Also lighting scenarios can be created for emergencies so that should a burglar break into your home – set the system to turn all lights on, raise blinds, do whatever you like to influence the intruder to leave.