Three things to remember about home automation

One thing that sticks out to me about building an eco-friendly home in 2017 is that from a technology standpoint, there’s never been a better time to build one. The opportunities to free up your time from mundane daily activities are virtually limitless. From appliances to lights to indoor comfort, nearly every facet of a home can be managed through a centralized control system connected to the internet.

For my home, I don’t plan on automating every single thing, but there are some important facets of my living space that I plan on automating or connecting to the internet - namely, our thermostats, lights, and window shades. The thermostats were definitely on my list from the beginning, because climate control is an area that I can save some money in over the long term. By utilizing a smart system, I can control the temperature more precisely and in turn control the systems that provide indoor comfort so that no amount of energy is wasted.

You might remember my previous conversation with Gerry Lynch of System 7. He’s been at the forefront of the home automation market since the early 2000s, when it was just becoming economical to automate systems on the scale that we see today. Gerry got in at the ground floor, before the iPhone was released - the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has been a game changer for the home automation market.

Gerry has been instrumental in helping me determine what my exact home automation needs are, and in helping me develop and implement a plan to install these systems in my new home during the interior construction phase. Luckily, the talented people at System 7 have made this easy for me, and I’ve learned quite a bit from Gerry during our meetings together. That reminds me, I wanted to share with you these three important takeaways that I think will make a difference for anyone thinking about engaging the IoT in their project...

1. No homebuilder is an island. Even though I’ve been building my own homes for a while, I know that the technology sector is a hyper-competitive, rapidly changing arena. In order to keep up with the latest, I keep my eye on other blogs and what people are writing about. The readwrite blog is one of my favorites - you should check it out!

2. Working with the pros - it’s what the pros do. Just like every other person who’s been involved in the trades or construction, I have my strengths and weaknesses. Seamlessly incorporating modern technology into the relatively older art of framing a home is my goal for this project, and so that’s why I like to chat about it with knowledgable professionals like Gerry.

3. You are the biggest beneficiary of your work. Whatever conversations or effort you put into researching this topic will yield a return on your investment in the form of a better system, and consequently, better indoor comfort.

I’m interested to know if any of you have any tips like these that can help me build a better system. Join the conversation and let us know!

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  • Dave Sweet
    Hi Carl, thanks for your comments. I’m still on the fence over whether or not a geothermal heat pump will be part of my final setup – I’ve been discussing this in detail with Jay Egg, one of the industry’s finest. I’m still a little bit put off by the price tag, do you think the long term savings will offset the initial costs?
  • Carl Orio
    1. A geothermal heat pump will provide the lowest cost heating AND cooling – should be par of your plan. While gas (today) is only a somewhat less efficient heating competitor, your geo cooling options are considerably higher efficiency.
    2. In terms of carbon foot print gas is NOT clean burn it is cleanER burn – about 1/2 that of oil. KEEP in mind a recent NY State study showed gas to be a higher carbon foot print than oil, as it is used in more places in the home e.g., water heat, cooking, incineration, fireplaces.
  • Dave Sweet