Sunday, November 15, 2009

Off-Site Home System Control is Perfect for Chalets.

There's never been a better time for Home Automation systems that allow for off-site control and monitoring of climate, security, irrigation and lighting - especially for cottagers who want to conserve energy.

What is off-site control exactly? It is the ability to turn up your chalet's thermostat a couple of hours before arriving, or setting your alarm off for workers, using a web browser or iPhone from anywhere in the world. Not sure if you turned your lights off before leaving? Easily check online and you'll see live status of your lights. Essentially, you control almost any system as if you were there.

The most versatile systems are installed during construction, when there is still time to plan for a suitable system and get wires in place before the drywall is installed. Most systems will require a hard line connection to your home network so be sure you have high speed internet service before you even consider this advanced home automation feature.

Some newer systems are designed specifically for retrofit installation in finished homes. Crestron's Prodigy line, for example, features a thermostat that communicates wire-free to the home automation processor, which in turn is connected to the home network and internet. The thermostat can then be controlled and viewed by all user interfaces throughout the home including hand-held remotes, in-wall touchscreens, PCs and iPhones/iTouches.

Prodigy Light Switches can replace standard switches and dimmers for the same kind of control. Add to this the ability to create lighting schedules to make sure lights are only on when needed. You can even program lights to turn on below maximum intensity, making sure you're always saving energy. The savings are significant yet you may not even realize that the lights are not quite as bright as they could be.

Off site control doesn't have to be expensive. Crestron Prodigy starts at around $1000 for home theatre automation and thermostat. Add light switches for about $150 each and 3.6 inch in-wall colour touchscreen for less than $800. As sophisticated as the system is, programming is easy and quick.

Start thinking about off-site control systems. You'll save energy, enhance security and have fun doing it.

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