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Green Homes—Electronic Controls
Prices vary with homeowner needs. A HomeSettings starter kit with two devices and a controller is about $100 retail, while the InTouch entry kit for a 2,500-square-foot home for those hiring professional installers sells for about $1,000, not including installation.
Control4, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, uses technologies such as ZigBee, WiFi, and Ethernet standards and Linux to increase integration of existing systems and to reduce user costs. “Digital households are overflowing with feature-rich gear and media that should work together but rarely do,” says CEO Will West. By developing standards-based products instead of proprietary ones, Control4 provides home automation solutions that tackle the problem of too many remote controls and disparate digital gadgets with no connectivity standards.
Koenig says that emerging solutions include products that allow homeowners to schedule power usage. He says one solution is a home battery that can draw its power during non-peak, and less expensive, periods and supplement a home’s needs during more expensive peak hours.
Home monitors are also of interest. Control4’s 4Sight Internet Service gives homeowners the ability to securely monitor and control their home from any Internet connection. It includes email alerts for events that a person may want to monitor in their home, such as a garage door left open or a basement water leak.
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