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Smart Homes Save Time and Energy
Rutherford and Laura Seydel went “smart” when building their Atlanta home not just for the convenience, but for one of the other perks of smart living: energy savings. “My goal is to get my utility bill get down to where it is as close to zero as possible,” says Seydel of his LEED-certified home nicknamed EcoManor. “If I do that, then I think [the smart home] has been a prudent investment.”
Seydel’s Crestron system powers down the entire house each night with the touch of a button. Electricity to items he doesn’t use during the middle of the night, such as computers and televisions, is completely shut off, meaning that they no longer sit in “standby” mode, slowly sipping in electricity. Indoor temperature is monitored regularly, turning the heat on only as necessary.
Media is often the first upgrade homeowners make, but installing a full-home media system is easiest in new construction because all the components can be hard-wired. Wireless units do exist, but hard-wired ones are much more reliable. Components include a multi-channel amplifier, a central server that stores all your media and, if you’re interested, a gaming system such as Xbox 360. All these components are usually kept out of sight, such as in a basement or dedicated, well-ventilated closet. Music, videos, and games can then be accessed in any room that has speakers or a television.
Systems for controlling appliances and utilities are also available. Miele’s refrigerators feature a RemoteVision system that uses the home’s wireless network to alert homeowners if a door was left unopened or a malfunction is compromising food quality.
Home utility usage can be constantly monitored with the Agilewaves system, which works on the Crestron platform and delivers real-time utility consumption information. You can set an energy usage target, such as $100 a month for electricity, and Agilewaves can alert you when you near that threshold. Its Resource Monitor can then make adjustments that will keep you on budget, such as dimming the lights by 20 percent.
Energy savings, convenience, the “Wow!” you’ll hear from friends — all are reason enough to consider making your home a smart home.
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