Would you build an analogue house in a digital world?
Faced with the prospect of adding building technology into the turmoil of their building project, it is all too easy for customers and home builders to discount the importance of building technology, and to justify the removal of it as: too expensive; too complicated; or simply unnecessary.
Often this is a reaction caused by misunderstanding what the system is really capable of, and the benefits it can bring to all users in the home. To avoid this one approach is to open a conversation with the project stakeholders around the mistake of building ‘an analogue house in a digital world’. By helping the customer to consider the implications of using a traditional analogue system (230v) with all its limitations compared to using an internationally recognised standard (www.KNX.org) to digitally control the building, you will start a conversation around the best way to wire a building instead of the customer just looking at the cost of the system.
Most customers will understand that, at some point in the lifetime of the building, they or a future owner will want to change how the building is used. This could be something simple like a study turning into a bedroom, or a complete change to the layout. With a traditional 230v system it’s not possible to change what is controlled from each switching point even with retrofit smart home solutions. Using a bus based system, like KNX, any circuit can be controlled from any point, it just needs to be reprogrammed. This ensures that the electrical installation can be adapted to the occupants changeable needs throughout the lifetime of the building.
Getting the building wiring right from the outset saves cost and frustration so it is the best place to start. But there is a lot more to a building than just the electrics. Shading and window control can offer significant improvements in the comfort and efficiency of a building. It might seem too much to some, but imagine buying a car without electric windows? Hard to do right? Well shading control is the same really. It adds so much to a home, and at some point in the future it will be so commonplace as to be considered normal. Using the same control system for both lighting and shading is a no brainer as it means the two systems can work harmoniously together. At the least, prewiring for shading control creates the opportunity for it to be added later, making sure the house isn’t out of date the day the owners move in.
The same goes for controlling aspects of the home from a mobile device or with voice control. Your customer might not see the benefit of doing this at the moment, but if the house is wired with an out of date system, it’s going to be a lot harder and more expensive to get it done later. That’s to their detriment, and if you really want to look forward, to the detriment of the next owner as well. After all, we increasingly interface with all aspects of our life in a digital way via devices of some kind, why wouldn’t we want to control the place we spend a large part of our lives in the same way?
These are just a couple of scenarios that can be used to move the conversation away from just talking about what it will cost to automate a home. Instead focusing on how the building may be used in the future and what features may be expected in generations to come is much more powerful. Getting the right electrical chassis into the building from the outset, and one with the capacity to expanded and be updated during the lifetime of the building, ensures that the home is designed for the future, not caught in the past.
Our advice to installers is to make sure that building stakeholders are clear that it is not acceptable in today’s world to put off or discount getting the best electrical installation possible for the building at the time it is built. So talk to the team at Ivory Egg and we will point you in the right direction. We believe in better buildings and believe passionately that an improvement in the performance of buildings will make the world a better place to live in for the long term.