posted on Saturday, 21st January 2017 by Geny Caloisi
Sweeping white architecture, a home cinema, 360 degree views from the rooftop pool and hot tub, a personal gym and tennis court and a vast wine cellar all featured in a luxury property in Melbourne, Australia. While these features made the home stand out as impressive, it lacked the wow factor of a fully automated, technologically-advanced system. This was until London-based home technology professional company, Sagar Smart Homes, designed and integrated a clever, all-encompassing structure which ultimately saw this project scoop the esteemed award for Best Integrated Home over £250,000 in the CEDIA Awards 2016.
Sagar Smart Homes was tasked with providing a fully integrated automation system to complement the lifestyle of the homeowner, who was based on the other side of the globe. This included the management and maintenance of available energy resources, with the ultimate goal being a completely off-grid home. It was vital to the client that the control systems and all associated elements were discreet, intuitive, consistent and reliable.
To combat the matter of distance, meticulous planning and management went into this project which included the commissioning, testing and installation of over 450 lighting circuits, 72 independent curtains, blinds and shutters, seven video zones and fourteen audio zones, all integrated into one smart system.
For the intricate level of integration this project required, an open and flexible platform led Sagar Smart Homes to select KNX as the backbone. This KNX solution allowed Sagar Smart Homes to use its ETS software tool to enable the lighting, heating and cooling, BMS, pool systems, AV, energy management and DALI to ‘speak the same language’ and operate together across the same network. This holistic platform can be controlled and monitored on both a local and global level, which was imperative for this project. A Savant AV system complemented KNX to manage the seven video zones, fourteen audio zones, and cinema room.
The greatest challenge Sagar Smart Homes faced throughout this project was achieving an off-grid status, alongside a reliable and effective electricity and energy management solution. To ensure the building was as efficient as possible, the full energy profile of even the smallest elements in the building had to be considered. Sagar Smart Homes implemented a multi-step process to achieve this, first identifying the main areas for energy consumption, and how they could be mitigated without any compromise on the end users living standards. Wet underfloor heating and comfort cooling were fully integrated, as there was no conflict between the two, whilst the blinds, curtains, and shutters were fitted with solar tracking to prevent unwanted solar gain on the glass of the property. Furthermore, each individual battery circuit can be monitored to check the health and performance of each unit, and alerts the client if the units react differently.
To achieve off-grid status, solar energy is converted by Mitsubishi heat exchangers and used across the domestic hot water system, underfloor heating and pools and spas as required. The system monitors over 40 sensors and controls 21 pumps. Sagar Smart Homes also implemented intelligent, occupancy-based algorithms which are designed to switch the room between standby by and comfort modes, ensuring areas are not being heated or cooled when empty, while also switching off small power circuits, hot water taps, amplifiers and white goods to minimise energy consumption as effectively as possible.
Focussing on the aesthetic requirements of this project and to make sure that all technology was as discreet as possible, Basalte Sentido switches were chosen. Biometric access control was also installed to provide intuitive and reliable access through the swinging and sliding doors within the home, to the garage and across the building’s perimeter. The biometric system is fully integrated, allowing a scan of the homeowner’s finger to open a door and switch on lights. TVs in the living areas are hidden behind motorised artwork and revealed on the Savant systems command. Sagar Smart Homes also ensured every aspect of the project is featured on the GUI, from lighting to CCTV.
Sagar Smart Homes left no room for error in its pursuit of a fully automated and integrated home, based on the other side of the world. Despite its logistical challenges and problems in achieving off-grid status for a property of this size, type and specification, Sagar Smart Homes not only achieved its brief, but delivered a truly intelligent, futureproofed, adaptable and flexible system.
“For a complex brief that was continually under review, Sagar Smart Homes flourished, providing expert consultation, eager enthusiasm and a dedicated eye to detail.” enthused the homeowner.
CEDIA is the international trade association and central touch point for 3,700 member companies who design, manufacture, and install technology for the home. CEDIA is committed to helping members at every level set a pathway to prosperity by offering industry-leading education, training, and certification; delivering market intelligence through proprietary research; providing opportunities to foster community within the channel, and cultivating awareness with industry partners and consumers. To learn more about CEDIA, visit www.cedia.net.
CEDIA US, 7150 Winton Drive, Suite 300. CEDIA UK, Unit 2, Phoenix Park, St Neots,
Indianapolis, IN 46268
Geny Caloisi is an accomplished technology journalist who has worked in a variety of AV industry publications.