Why Automate Your Home?
Home Automation Effects on Energy Consumption
Any area of the home that uses energy can be monitored and controlled. You can walk around the house turning thermostats up/down, turning lights off, turning bathroom exhaust fans off, shutting windows, then yelling at the person who did it (which they won’t admit to) or let the Home Automation System take care of it. Simple logic, like if there has been no motion in the room for 15 minutes turn the light off, can save $10 a year. It may not sound like much but once you add it all up pay back can be quicker than you would imagine. Another way to save on energy usage is simple energy awareness. Studies have shown that bill payers having real time access to energy usage can reduce their energy costs up to 25% by monitoring usage in real time with no apparent reduction in comfort. With today’s technology just about anything is possible.
Home Automation Effects on Comfort
Scared of the dark? Most humans are. Automatically turn the mudroom, hallway, kitchen, and outside light on when you pull in the driveway. The doors unlock as you get near. After you are safely in the house you go to a touch screen and set a light scene of your choice, turn on some music or the TV. Check the log to see how many cars have been in and out of the driveway, if the cat/dog is in or out, check phone messages/email… your imagination is the limit of the comforts that can be created. You start a load of laundry and instead of forgetting about it your system notifies you when the washing machine is finished. It’s amazing how much laundry you can get done when you efficiently move loads through the system. We all know what happens when we forget a load in the washer for a couple of days. You can even have the system tell you when the hot water heater is back up to temp so you can avoid running a cold bath. Once in the bathtub you could tell, by voice, the system to play music, set lights at a certain level, raise the temp in bathroom… again, your imagination is the limit and the cost is not as high as one would think.
Home Automation Effects on Security
It is very easy to incorporate security in a home automation system. Most of the talked about above can be used to determine whether something is supposed to be happening or not. No one is home, motion is detected in the backyard; the system takes a picture and sends it to your cell phone. The system could send you a text message if someone pulled in the driveway, if a window was opened, etc. You could also send a message to a number of different security companies that could take action depending on the type of message sent. Real time video surveillance at home, the office, out of town over the internet is common place. What are the kids doing while you’re at work?
Home Automation Effects on Entertainment
It’s Saturday night, movie night. Whether you have a full blown Home Theatre or a 20” TV set and a DVD player in your living room you can benefit from Home Automation. For the latter, push a button on a touch screen, the wall, or on a remote control and the TV’s input gets set to the DVD player, the DVD player’s door opens, and the lights dim to the “movie” settings. The phone system gets set so all unknown calls go straight to voicemail. You could have certain incoming calls pause the DVD player, announce the caller over the speaker system, blink lights, send a text notification to your cell phone, etc. For the full blown system you could do all the above and more. Like setting the movie cue on the touch screen and accessing them from the digital storage system. Huge music libraries can be kept and organized and “piped” to any room of the house. For the kids, TV limits can be set for channels and the amount of time watched. Video game time limits can be set.