Smart Home Design 2019
For AV Architects and Builders, Smart Home features are an integral part of the design process. While Smart Home solutions can be added after the house has been constructed, cost savings and ease of incorporation is best accomplished during the design phase, so that conduit and other elements can be installed during construction. Generally, Smart Home plans happen towards the end of the design process, once the overall layout and utility of the home has been decided.
We work with the client from the outset to determine what Smart Home features will best suit the custom needs of the client. We start by looking at the main use of the house, asking questions like whether there will be small children, will there be multi-generations living in the home, or whether the home is meant for empty nesters seeking to age in place. For each of these needs, the layout, priorities and design style will vary. However, there are several areas that will be of interest to all our clients.
Smart Homes have come a long way from the days when a phone allowed you to key in an alarm code for remote activation. With a smart phone, homes can now have multiple levels of security. In addition to activating the alarm from your smart phone, you can now use your phone to trigger automatic locks, so there is no question that the house is secure when you are away. Smart Homes also have the ability to manage lights, which is particularly convenient in today’s home where 8000 square feet might have up to 150 lights. These can be turned on and off from your phone, programmed for away times or set up to trigger a lighted path from the garage to the bedroom for late night arrivals.
One of the most exciting developments in the Smart Home security addresses leaks and floods. With a sensor attached to the bottom of water-using appliances, the Smart Home can detect and alert when there is excessive moisture accumulation. A vacationing homeowner could receive this alert and remotely turn off the water main, potentially saving the house from a damaging flood.
Security in the Smart Home also comes in the form of remote access to cameras – the most common being the front door camera. These can be incorporated into the doorbell through solutions like Ring that allow homeowners to view their front door 24/7. Remote access to other features of a Smart Home also enhance security. For example, window treatments can be hooked up to an automated system that can be timed to open and close to maximize security and privacy.
Smart Homes make many aspects of home life much more convenient. From allowing a homeowner to manage the HVAC system through their phone, to setting up light zones that can be turned on and off automatically or with the push of a button, the Smart Home is geared towards ease. Smart Homes take automation of things like the sprinkler system to the next level, permitting a homeowner to pick a convenient time to program and operate the home systems. In addition to security, the window treatments can be programmed to raise and lower to let in light and increase privacy depending on the time of day.
The whole house vacuum systems have also come a long way from the days when a homeowner had to lug the hose around the house. Now, the hoses are retractable into the walls, with lengths from 7 to 15 to 50 feet, permitting targeted cleaning with enhanced suction. The only thing to carry around are the attachments, and dust, pet hair and other allergens are sucked into a filtered receptacle in the basement, leaving a home clean without a portable unit taking up storage space.
Smart Homes do so much more than eliminate the pain of having to use multiple remotes to watch tv. Today’s homeowners don’t want to be relegated to a basement media rooms. Instead, Smart Homes are designed to give the theater experience in multiple areas around the house, all controlled from a smart phone. With the home wired for sound, and window treatments programmed to darken a room, the family can watch movies wherever they tend to congregate. From the great room to the outdoor areas, a superior A/V experience can be had with a properly prepared Smart Home. In addition, Smart Homes can be wired for internet access that doesn’t rely on wifi. This wired networking approach is also a security enhancement since it is easier to break into a wireless network.
With the sophistication of systems like Sonos® and Control4®, thousands of Smart Home systems can be set up for automation. AV Architects & Builders works with out clients to design the right system for their needs. Our preferred vendor, Sight & Sound Systems will then install the system as part of the construction process, delivering a custom experience to a custom home.