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Intelligent housing – present or future?

Imagine being able to ask your house to switch on and off the lights, open and close the windows, put the washing machine on, raise or lower the blinds, control the temperature ….  Intelligent housing (also known as smart homes) has surfaced to make our lives much easier and more comfortable, and it is effected through home automation, a combination of technologies whose objective is to better our lives in the domestic sphere, making it more comfortable, safer and economical.

In fact, house automation is being increasingly integrated into architectural projects, no matter whether they are integral or simple reforms.  There are two objectives: that our daily lives are more comfortable, and that more sustainability can be achieved, since intelligent housing can save energy for a reasonable price which can be amortised over a short period of time.   This is because house automation finds the energy consumption which best meets our needs, so that energy bills are considerably reduced.   An example of this is the Empire State Building, where cuts in energy costs of up to 57% have been achieved.

In Zanobia we integrate house automation to our projects working with, among others, Valena™ Next, a range of mechanisms from Legrand which incorporate functions connected with Netatmo technology.  Intelligent housing is going to play an active role in the future of housing.  For example, via the mobile phone, “the house” can tell that we are on our way home and activate either the central heating or air conditioning, according to the time of year, so that when we arrive at home, it will be to a comfortable temperature.  And if we have programmed the system for every member of the family, either with an electronic key reader, or digital fingerprint, it  will switch on the cafetière so that there is a cup of hot coffee ready for whoever wants one when they get home, or play the playlist which we are used to listening to when we lie down.   There are several very simple ways to activate this technology: your voice, with the voice assistants already on the market (Google Assistant – Alexa or Siri), or from mobiles or tablets via a simple application.

In this way, opting for housing automation brings the following advantages:

Energy Saving. There are many possibilities for saving energy when it comes to smart homes: from avoiding wasting artificial light with lighting control systems that use the exact quantity of light necessary, to using timing or movement sensors which switch lights off when they are no longer needed, to activating programmes for home appliances, to taking advantage of the natural light with automated curtains and blinds. Equally, watering the garden can also be controlled automatically, by defining periods of watering in different zones and at different times of the day.

Managing the temperature according to our needs.   The climatic controls allow management of heating or air, whether through systems of air conditioning, under floor heating, boilers, radiators… We can programme the exact temperature for each moment of the day or night.

Comfort through personalised settings.  One advantage of intelligent housing is that we can predefine distinct ambiences in different spaces in the house, playing with the light, the temperature or the music when we want to use a specific area – we don’t have to do anything more than think how we would like it.  This can be done in person or with a remote.

Security.  Besides sensors which advise if doors or windows are open, or any other unusual activity, which would alert us to a possible incident, the closed-circuit television can also incorporate a general system of house automation, allowing all areas of the house to be constantly monitored.    In the same way, we can make it look as if we are at home when we’re not.

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