3 sur­pris­ing home el­e­ments you can au­to­mate

Cecil Whig - - OURCECIL -

— Just a decade or two ago, home au­to­ma­tion was still some­thing of a nov­elty. Some home­own­ers might have had pro­gram­mable ther­mostats in their homes, but many prob­a­bly hadn’t thought of au­tomat­ing things like win­dow cov­er­ings. More­over, they likely viewed any home au­to­ma­tion they did have as a con­ve­nience. To­day, home au­to­ma­tion is be­com­ing an es­sen­tial ef­fi­ciency-en­hanc­ing el­e­ment in many homes.

Right now, just fewer than 6 per­cent of Amer­i­can house­holds have au­to­mated homes, but within four years that per­cent­age is ex­pected to triple to nearly 19 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by Statista.com. What’s driv­ing more peo­ple to au­to­mate their homes? A re­port by icon­trol net­works found se­cu­rity, cost sav­ings and ecofriendly en­ergy ef­fi­ciency are what peo­ple find most ex­cit­ing about home au­to­ma­tion.

Heat­ing and cool­ing, light­ing and se­cu­rity sys­tems are among the most com­mon el­e­ments au­to­mated in homes, but they’re far from the only ones that can save you money and make your home more ef­fi­cient. Here are three sur­pris­ing things you can au­to­mate in your home to fur­ther im­prove ef­fi­ciency, boost en­ergy sav­ings and lower en­ergy costs: Win­dow cov­er­ings Shades, drapes, blinds, and awnings can all help con­trol the amount of heat and light that en­ter your home. Select­ing win­dow cov­er­ings to block out light and heat


in sum­mer, and ad­mit light in win­ter, can help your home’s heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems work more ef­fi­ciently. How­ever, the ef­fec­tive­ness of win­dow cov­er­ings hinges on open­ing and clos­ing them at the right time — some­thing you may for­get to do, or not be home to do.

Au­tomat­ing and pow­er­ing win­dow cov­er­ings can help au­to­mat­i­cally max­i­mize their ef­fec­tive­ness. De­pend­ing on the cli­mate where you live, au­tomat­ing win­dow cov­er­ings could yield en­ergy sav­ings of 11-20 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to a study com­mis­sioned by the Con­sumer Tech­nol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion (CTA).

Somfy’s mo­tor­ized so­lu­tions eas­ily in­te­grate with any home au­to­ma­tion sys­tem, re­gard­less of brand or tech­nol­ogy, and of­fer many op­tions for con­trol­ling win­dow cov­er­ings. Se­lect from a wide va­ri­ety of hand-held re­motes, sen­sors, wall switches, and the myLink app that al­lows you to con­trol your mo­tor­ized win­dow cov­er­ings from mo­bile de­vices. Door locks If you’ve ever been locked out of your house or had a guest ar­rive at your home when you were out, you prob­a­bly wished there was some way to un­lock your front door with­out a key — and from miles away. Smart locks al­low you to do both those things and more.

You can re­place or sup­ple­ment an ex­ist­ing lock by in­stalling a smart lock, and you won’t need a pro­fes­sional lock­smith to do it. If you can in­stall a reg­u­lar lock and op­er­ate a smart­phone, you have the ex­per­tise you need to add and use a smart lock.

In ad­di­tion to al­low­ing you to lock and un­lock your door with­out a key, smart locks also al­low you to op­er­ate the lock re­motely from an app on your phone. You can also re­ceive alerts when the door has been un­locked — a great way to track the com­ings and go­ings of latchkey kids. Many al­low you to gen­er­ate a sin­gle-use dig­i­tal key that you can email to guests or ser­vice providers who may need to en­ter your home when you’re not there. Smart locks can also be paired with most pop­u­lar home au­to­ma­tion sys­tems. Smart ap­pli­ances Many ap­pli­ance mak­ers are of­fer­ing smart, con­nected ap­pli­ances with the big draw be­ing their “wow fac­tor.” How­ever, some of the fea­tures of these ap­pli­ances do hold the po­ten­tial to im­prove a home’s ef­fi­ciency and en­ergy sav­ings.

For ex­am­ple, a re­frig­er­a­tor that tracks gro­ceries and lets you know when you’re about to run out of an im­por­tant item could help you bet­ter plan your shop­ping trips. Fewer car trips con­serves gas and re­duces green­house emis­sions. Cook­ing is an­other area where au­to­ma­tion can re­lieve some of the en­ergy waste caused by hu­man er­ror. Smart ovens and cook­tops can sense when to turn them­selves off in case you for­get to do it — re­duc­ing en­ergy waste and fire risks.

More home­own­ers are dis­cov­er­ing the con­ve­nience, se­cu­rity and ef­fi­ciency ad­van­tages of home au­to­ma­tion. Tech­nol­ogy is help­ing make Amer­i­can homes more liv­able and en­joy­able.

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