Smart Home Electronics Saint John NB
Saint John, NB
Smart Home Electronics
October 21, 2008 By Adrienne Maxwell
A smarter home can be a greener home.
As energy costs rise, do you find yourself feeling a little green-obsessed? Has your family tired of your constant needling about the lights, thermostat, and electronics usage?
Maybe it’s time to let your home do the obsessing for you.
A smart home can give you more control over your entertainment systems and reliably do the little things we may be too busy to do ourselves.
In addition to being a convenient way to control your A/V equipment, smart home technology can be the most practical way to reduce your energy consumption.
You can certainly go big in this arena by hiring an automation and control expert to unite your home’s various systems—lighting, temperature, window treatments, security, and A/V distribution—into one master control system, with programs specifically created to save energy. But you can also start small, with easy do-it-yourself solutions.
Swap out that old thermostat for a programmable model like HAI’s Omnistat2 RC-2000 ($338.30), which can learn your home’s heating and cooling patterns and adjust itself for increased efficiency. It can also display your monthly energy usage and costs. Replace light switches with dimmers and keep them set below maximum, and better manage your lights by adding indoor occupancy sensors from a company like Leviton to bathrooms, kitchens, and hallways.
The sheer number of options in this realm can be overwhelming. There are many good automation products and control systems available that can help you save energy; this month, we’re calling special attention to three custom-oriented companies that are aggressively pushing the green cause, in their products and marketing.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that lighting accounts for about 20 percent of a home’s electricity bill. In most cases, our lighting systems are probably providing more light than we actually need. That’s where a dimmer comes in handy. Lutron’s new Skylark eco-dim dimmer ($26.50) earns its name because it ships in an eco mode that’s designed to cut energy usage by at least 15 percent (by limiting maximum light level) and extend lamp life.
To better illustrate (illuminate?) the potential savings, Lutron has added a “Save Energy” link to its Website’s home page, which launches an interactive program that allows you to see how much energy you can save with various Lutron dimmers, in various room environments. Should you desire a more comprehensive lighting control system, Lutron’s Grafik Eye QS offers three to six zones of lighting and shade control, and the interface provides real-time feedback regarding energy savings.
In the world of multiroom audio and control, NuVo Technologies has received attention for its Essentia E6G six-zone/six-source audio system, the first multiroom audio system to earn Energy Star certification. That means the E6G consumes less than 1 watt of power in standby mode. Its digital amplifier an...