Inside a Kiwi Smart Home
Located on a picturesque cliff edge, one architecturally designed home is distinctly different from the other luxury homes surrounding it.
Not immediately obvious at first, the magic is in-built amongst the impressive floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive views, discreetly hidden behind the walls is smart home technology called C-Bus.
C-Bus is ideal for larger homes
One man who knows just how much C-Bus can enhance daily life is Des Dass, managing director of automation company Intellisys and the owner of this smart home.
Des has worked on automation projects throughout New Zealand for nearly 20 years and his own luxurious home in Auckland’s Gulf Harbour doubles as a showcase of what’s possible when C-Bus is running in the background.
He says C-Bus is ideal for homes that are 300–600m² or larger and usually have extra elements like air conditioning or pools, which require more management.
“As the houses grow in size you may not even have visibility from one end to the other,” says Des. “You would need to walk the length of the house just to check whether the lights and heaters are off and all the doors are locked! But with C-Bus you can do all that from the comfort of your kitchen or lounge. You manage and monitor the entire house from a central location.”
Des says it can be hard for people to imagine what living in a smart home is like and so his house functions as a “test drive”, where visitors can see smart home automation in action as it controls everything in and around his expansive property with the push of a button.
“People who build or renovate the kind of houses that we work on often won’t have any detailed ideas of what they want technology-wise,” says Des. “But then they come out here and see how everything comes together, that’s when the magic of it all starts to resonate, because they can picture it all working for them.”
Touch screen automation
Once the system is installed, you control features around your home through a touch screen system. It’s a streamlined way of having everything at your fingertips and eliminates the need for stacks of remotes for all your different appliances.
Simply access the system from light switch-sized wall screens, as you move around your house, or stay on the couch and use a tablet or smart phone.
Set the scene with C-Bus
You can tailor the automation system to your lifestyle by creating different ‘scenes’, where indoor and outdoor elements work together in a variety of situations.
For example, a ‘welcome home’ scene ensures you always approach your house in light, rather than in darkness. It can activate as you drive in your front gate, turning on the interior and exterior lights, deactivating the alarm and could even start your favourite music in the kitchen.
Or a single tap of a button can activate an ‘away’ scene that locks doors and windows, closes all the blinds, turns off any unnecessary appliances and sets the alarm.
“The access control side of it is married very closely with the automation and lighting,” explains Des. “There are a lot of little feature sets that we can build in once we do the security as well as the automation.”
C-Bus can even create scenes for different moods. “This house looks magical at night,” says Des. “The biggest scene we run is the ‘Party Scene’, where the touch of one button activates around 35 lighting circuits as well as the water feature, music and, if it’s winter, then the fireplaces start up too. It sets the scene from my front gate all the way through the house to the outdoor areas, including the pool.”
Particularly impressive is the ‘virtual’ pool security fence that creates an invisible barrier between the house and the pool, allowing uninterrupted views across the garden.
“If any of the doors leading out to the pool are opened then the pool fence automatically arms, as well as the PIR sensors above each door” says Des. “If you exit the doors or cross the invisible beams surrounding the pool it triggers a loud alarm. Each barrier can be independently disabled to allow access outside of the doors, or to use the pool. This system has been tested and approved by local councils and we’ve used this technology in various projects successfully.”
Even the pool maintenance is automated. With temperature and PH control sensors, letting Des know the status of his pool and automatically adding treatment when required.
Energy efficiency made easy
Subtly placed around the home are sensors, which trigger lighting to activate in areas like the hallways, so Des doesn’t even need to think about lighting when walking through his home.
The smart home system is also used to monitor and actively reduce energy consumption by scheduling appliances to turn on and off, rather than drawing power on standby, and by optimising power use around when energy prices are lowest.
“We’ve used C-Bus to manage power use in our home by timing various activities for when utility companies offer the best rates, and it’s reduced my power bills by more than 50%,” says Des.
“In other houses we’ve used C-Bus to manage solar power – using it when it’s freely available and then minimising power usage when the owners have to use grid power.”
C-Bus and the home theatre
Movie and music buffs will be quick to add ‘home theatre’ to their must-have list once they see the incredible space that Des has created using studio quality equipment and C-Bus to run it all.
His theatre is fully sound engineered with acoustic fabric-covered walls concealing absorbers, diffusers and bass traps. Just like a commercial movie theatre, the 4K resolution projector displays on to a 155” acoustically transparent anamorphic screen, with speakers and subwoofers behind it for a superior sound experience.
“Great software, microphones and recording equipment have helped us design and engineer the theatre to have perfect sound in all the seating positions,” says Des.
Even the seats are next-level, using D-Box motion control technology so they move and behave in line with what’s happening on the screen. “If you’re in a V8 car going over rough terrain then you’ll feel all the bumps, as well as hear and feel the throb of the V8,” he grins.
The lighting is exceptional too, with 45 circuits of lighting in the central dome alone and a total of 69 dimmed LED circuits. “It’s a one-of-a-kind room,” says Des. “It’s wicked looking and sounding!”
Come home to C-Bus 'smarts'
After living in his smart home for 15 years, Des Dass has grown used to an environment that responds to his every need – from the simplicity of subtle sensor lighting as he moves around at night to securing the entire property in one easy step. Despite technology coming a long way in that time, C-Bus has evolved with it and can be easily integrated with new appliances.
He says the initial cost of C-Bus installation is balanced by savings in time, energy and money, as well as the gain in luxury, aesthetics and ease of use. “I’m just so used to having everything at my fingertips. C-Bus manages all aspects of this building without me having to think about it. I can’t imagine life without it.
Creating your dream home – whether building or renovating – means getting every detail right, so choose C-Bus smart home automation and take life from enjoyable to exceptional.
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