Building Management

5 Ideas to make your House Smarter

You probably already have a Smart-phone, and thinking about buying a Smart-TV while you read an article about Smart Cities… go further, and make your house a Smart-home!

No worries, no need to change your elegant/classical/modern/cozy place into a geek starship full of cables and switches: it is easier than you think, and can be done a little bit at a time. Not only will you save on bills, but you will get a more comfortable environment to live and enjoy. It all depends on how you live your house, so just focus on your habits and needs.

Here are some examples of what I did when moved into my new house:

–       corridor and stair lighting automatically switch on when someone walks thru, and then off when no one is there (tip: if it is not already integrated into the bulb, placing the movement sensor at low level will let your cat enjoy disco all night long. Useful against potential burglar, but only when you’re away).  Lights also have a daylight sensor I can set, so they can activate only when it’s dark (rain, fog, … and night of course). LED (or at least halogen ones), are best.  The cost is compensated by duration (from 3 to 25 times more!), and consumption

–       garden irrigation system does not start when it rains or there is already enough humidity in the air (tip: put the humidity sensor out of reach of the water sprayer, like a wall or porch). Outside light bulbs have daylight sensors so they automatically switch off in the morning. Those in the garden have also a motion sensor, acting as deterrence in case of a night intruder

House-at-night

–       blinds automatically close on living room large windows when it rains, so I do not have to clean them every summer day just because of sudden showers (tip: avoid using a wind sensor, at it is useless and really annoying. Use it with awnings instead.)

–       all major appliances have electricity control: so when the washing machine and dishwasher are operating, roast is cooking in the oven and I am using the hairdryer, I do not have to worry about my power carrier interrupting the supply (due to my momentary extra-consumption) and spoiling my roast. First the dishwasher goes on hold, if not enough then the washing machine, and when I am done with the hairdryer they automatically return to work. Dinner is ready in time, and so is my hair.

–       each room recognizes temperature and I can program it differently depending on who is using it and when (bedrooms get warmer on winter evenings, studio during the day but not on the weekends, etc)

Your time now, what would you prefer?



19 Responses
  1. sunil dandsena

    Thank u mam for ur tips to save energy.Everybody should be cautious as our source of energy is depleting day by day.

    Reply
  2. Teresa Rodriguez Luna

    GREAT!
    I would love to have a SMARTer Flat ( I have no garden, just a terrace)
    How much and
    where can we buy these items: movement&daylight sensors, automatic blinds, home automation and energy metering appliances to save and use them efficiently?
    I BUY THEM!!

    Reply
  3. Amanda Kindl Amanda Kindl

    Thanks so much for your comments! Please feel free to add more ideas.

    Teresa, I am glad I inspired you to take action on energy efficiency.
    Depending where you live in the world, you can purchase these types of products at various outlets. Here in Italy (my country) to get the described solution I:
    – bought smart light bulbs with movement and/or daylight sensor at local DIY (do-it-yourself / home improvement) store
    – asked the gardener to provide me an irrigation sprinkler system with rain sensor (you can also research irrigation systems online, or try at plant nursery)
    – asked the electrician to install me a rain sensor for the motorized blinds, and a load controller for my appliances (they require connection to power control cabinet, and you should always engage a professional electrician for these types of installations)
    I hope you can find some good solutions for your flat. I am curious to know how it goes, so keep me posted on updates!

    Reply
  4. Riccardo Comper

    Nice post, it’s usually very hard to promote Domotics and Smart Home technologies without loosing the fundamental concept of simplicity and “smart” fruition.

    Reply
  5. Amanda Kindl akindl

    hi Raul, I am Italian and the solution described was implemented here in Italy

    Reply
  6. Buddhi Raj Sharna

    Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful knowledge. I want to implement these in Bhutan. How is it possible?

    Reply
    • Amanda Kindl Amanda Kindl

      Hi Buddhi Raj, I am pretty sure this kind of solutions can be implemented almost everywhere, you just need a good electrician for some of the installations.
      If you cannot find equipment in local point of sales (here in Italy I found them in do-it-yourself / home improvement stores), you can try with online searches.
      Hope this helps a bit, let me know

      Reply
  7. Piyush

    Good to have such information and new technologies coming into picture. would love to explore more ideas to implement same in india,kolkata

    Reply
  8. Amanda Kindl Amanda Kindl

    Hi Jon, thanks for your feedback about the wifi led light bulb. I don’t believe we currently make a product like the one you mention below but it seems like an interesting idea! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Graeme Ingham

    We implemented a Z-wave network, primarily for temperature regulation, at our home. We have various “scenes” that are set for when we arriving, leaving etc. Also, we have a front doorlock that can be programmed to allow certain people access at certain times. I picked up most of the components off of eBay. If you are patient, you can get some great deals on the equipment.
    Does anyone have a vision of the competing technologies of Z-Wave and Zigbee? I don’t want to invest too much into Z-Wave if it is going to be the next betamax. I get the feeling that Z-wave is going to win in the home and Zigbee in the office.

    Reply
    • Amanda Kindl Amanda Kindl

      Hi Graeme,
      thanks for moving this conversation on an higher level.

      I also read a lot about Z-Wave vs Zigbee (see an example here http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=1409777&type=member&item=214373130&trk=group_search_item_list-0-b-ttl&goback=%2Egna_1409777) and honestly I would prefer to avoid this to become a tech battle – even if looking at comments online, Z-Wave looks quite more popular.
      The great thing is that it is not a One-Box Solution for all, everybody can chose based on specific needs.

      For instance I am thinking to:
      – integrate also the garage door (to make sure I do not forget it open when leaving),
      – monitor water and energy consumption as happening (not afterwards, on providers bill),
      – install a cooling solution integrated with thermostats in each room…

      I wrote this post to point out simple solutions that anyone in the world can easily implement, showing this is not a geek topic – and final result can even be trendy.

      Your example illustrates the natural next step, once we realize how many things are possible:
      based on your experience, what would you recommend?

      Reply
    • Amanda Kindl Amanda Kindl

      Thanks, I am glad you find it helpful. Please feel free to add any further idea, it would be interesting to see how similar problems can be solved – no matter where in the world we live.

      Reply
  10. Ellen

    I love home automation, it makes everything a lot easier if you forget something, or you just want piece of mind for your kids. The expense up front was a little daunting but completely worth it.

    Reply
  11. Curtis Hubner

    Awesome article. I constantly spend time thinking of ways to automated custom homes in creative way, but forget to pay special detail to the systems that we are already using. The irrigation sensor vs. humidity comment was spot on.
    Thanks

    Reply

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