Below are questions that we are commonly asked about home automation, energy management and lighting control, along with our answers. If you have a question that is not covered here, please contact us and we'll be pleased to answer your query.
Energy savings will apply from day one if you've opted for a system that uses light level and occupancy sensors, and other energy reducing technologies. In many cases a full return on investment can be achieved within one to two years. However each situation is different so please contact us to discuss what you are hoping to achieve.
Certainly the ideal time to consider such a system is at the planning stage of a new building. However there are a number of good robust retrofit solutions that are available for existing buildings. Again, it all depends on what you are wanting to achieve and your time frames.
Any home automation system is really only as good as the programming that goes into it. Over the years we have seen a number of installations where considerable sums of money have been spent, and yet the only real visible benefit is the dimming of the lights! In order to have a "smart" system, you do need a "smart" company to install it.
With traditional wiring, each light is directly connected to a light switch. When the switch is turned on, the circuit is complete. It’s very simple, but also very inflexible. With the type of home automation system that Intelligent Environments Limited commonly use, everything is wired back to a central point, where they are connected to either "dimmers" (for lights) or "relays" (some types of lighting, blinds, drapes, irrigation, extractor fans, irrigation, etc). Also connected to the network are all of the wall switches, plus additional controls such as light level or movement sensors, remote controllers, touchscreens, and so on.
Now we get to the "smart" element: any button, on any switch, can control anything that you want it to! It is possible to configure the home automation system however you would like. Now unfortunately this is where some home automation systems just dim the lights. Often the installer did not have the know how or experience to program the hardware to provide more elaborate control.
Intelligent Environments Limited commonly install home automation systems that not only include numerous "scenes' for the lights, but also incorporate the opening or closing of blinds or drapes, control undertile heating, extractor fans and heated towel rails in bathrooms, operate pool & spa pumps, control multi room audio, and interface with the alarm and security systems.
If you have an existing home automation system that is not as "smart" as you think it should be, give us a call to discuss whether we can teach it a few new tricks!
Although solar-passive principles in the design of a house provide the biggest benefits there are some retrofit solutions that can also make a big difference.
Energy efficiency is the single most cost-effective way to reduce residential environmental impact. Roof insulation, management of window heat load (via shades etc) and control of "energy hogs" such as heating, cooling, pumps and heaters for pools & spas, hot water systems, etc. all have a part to play.
Over lighting, as well as wasting energy, also introduces additional heat into the room and air conditioning works harder to compensate.
Automating via time clock and schedules, or introducing technology such as sensors to ensure lights, heating etc are not left running in an empty room, can certainly have a significant impact on reducing energy wastage (and reducing your power bill).
Many families also find it worthwhile setting up a simple monitoring system that allows the family to see exactly how they're tracking in terms of energy use. Energy conservation is cost effective and admirable, but to work properly it entails behaviour change. Being able to see exactly where the household is using energy, provides the motivation the family may need.