Building With Automation
Building with automation is the most affordable way to go! After our interview and the design process, most of our work is with the Builder or Developer of your home or office area. We work with some of the most well established builders and developers in the Central Oregon and Portland and pride ourselves with delivering a product not only we are proud of, but also them, and ultimately…you.
Home automation sounds high-tech. But that’s because it is high tech—it encompasses slick new home features ranging from HVAC systems that turn on and off in certain rooms depending on occupancy, to lighting and security controls, to a single remote that allows homeowners to simply and intuitively control the home theater.
For builders and remodelers, high tech can imply high cost and to others it can sound like an exotic luxury upgrade. But be prepared: Home automation prices are dropping and the demand is rising, resulting in these technologies gaining traction. That’s what we’re hearing from our builder/remodeler/developer partners.
“You see it with age groups of buyers. The 20- and 30-something customers, they just expect this stuff to be going in the house. Younger people know the technology, they aren’t afraid of it, and they want it.”
But to what extent should contractors include the latest technology in their building plans?
Our builders look at what we can do [technologically] and evaluate what is reasonable. But a lot of this is affordable, in high demand and it’s here today. For most builders, it’s not beyond their ability to embed some of this high-value technology within the average home price. If you have $5,000 to $10,000 to spend on technology, you can get a nice turnkey control system that can make direct impacts on the home’s efficiency and desirability to a technology-savvy client. That’s a very reasonable number compared with even five years ago.
A basic system can integrate TV and music in addition to security and energy efficiency features. Energy efficiency is an important frontier for home automation, because homeowners can perceive those features as money savers rather than luxury upgrades. Automation that turns off the lights and regulates the temperature and hot water production based on occupancy sensors or usage patterns can make a positive dent in homeowners’ energy bills.
Leave room for the future
With technology rapidly changing, performance improves and prices fall while a home can last for generations. For that reason, we recommend that builders include raceways in their new homes. A raceway is an infrastructure of conduits that allows you to add or subtract certain types of cabling during the life of the house based on which technology is in vogue. So instead of hard-wiring an S-Video cable which becomes obsolete a decade later, you’d run the cable through a conduit; that way you could pull it out and replace it when the next generation of cable (HDMI, for example) becomes standard.
For us, the key to home automation isn’t pointing to the systems themselves. Our homeowners and builders respond best when they understand what home automation means for them—specifically, that there’s less to remember. One of our favorite examples is a busy morning where the whole family is running behind as the lights are on and the TV is blaring. With a home automation system, once everyone is in the car you can press one button on a simple keypad that turns off the lights, sets the HVAC units back to a conservative setting, closes a water valve to protect against leaks, turns off connected TVs and activates the alarm.
If you can do all that with one button, does that mean the automation industry has also solved its remote control problems? Yes! You can get one remote to control all the electronics and even turn up the air conditioning if you get hot while playing a video game.
That’s why we love partnering with Builders and Remodelers. It makes more efficient for us, and more affordable for you, the consumer!