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How to make your home smart

Posted on Friday May 17, 2019

How to make your home smart

The smart home is an increasingly popular concept in recent years. Many homeowners already use features like remote control of heating and cooling, but smart homes take this idea further, being designed to help keep costs down and make our busy lives easier while also contributing to sustainable development.

What is a smart home? Think connectivity and energy resources.

A smart home is a dwelling that both meets your connectivity needs and makes optimum use of energy resources. Making your home smarter involves two key approaches. First, you take measures to minimize energy consumption by conducting an energy analysis and making any necessary changes, and next, you incorporate interconnected systems that you can use to operate certain devices even when you’re not at home.

How do I go about building a smart home? Among other factors, consider sun exposure.

If you purchase a lot and plan to build a house on it, it’s important to keep in mind which side of your home will face the sun. For example, a full southern exposure means that you can take maximum advantage of natural light while also reducing the impact of northerly winds (a big plus, especially in winter!). Consider also positioning doors, windows and other openings to limit exposure to chilly drafts and invite as much light as possible into the rooms you use most often.

If you’re planning to use your home to generate energy – whether via solar panels, a small wind turbine or a geothermal system – then it’s also important to plan for and optimize the placement of these systems. Consider registering for the Net Metering program to help maximize your energy savings.

When it comes to interior insulation in your home, consider using wireless-friendly materials to avoid any problems caused by disrupted Wi-Fi signals (particularly if you work from home and need the Internet). Next, it’s time to set up a home automation system. Home automation is a construction specialty incorporating techniques for controlling, automating and programming residences. According to the website Climamaison, it’s a recent discipline arising out of advances in information technology.

What should I be automating? Take a close look at your needs (rather than your wants or your urge to keep up with the Joneses).

Focus on home automation systems designed to improve your quality of life. For example, you might install a system you can use to control the heating and cooling of your home remotely. This can be very useful when you go on vacation, if you spend time at a cottage, or even if you just want to be able to turn the heat down at night from the comfort of your bed via cell phone. On the other hand, a system for automatically opening and closing your blinds could prove handy if you’re surrounded by neighbours but not very useful if you live out in the woods. Similarly, there’s little point in getting an automatic watering system if you don’t even like gardening or if you have plants that don’t need a lot of water.

When deciding which systems are best for you, remember to consider the needs of other family members as well. People who are close to their pets might love to be able to communicate with them remotely via cell phone or a Furbo smart camera, which you can use to see, talk to and even toss treats to Fido when you’re not at home. Meanwhile, cottage owners are sure to appreciate a remote-control heating and cooling system to help keep their home power bills down. Do you rent your home on Airbnb? Smart locks eliminate the need to give out a physical key to your home, while a noise detector can alert you if a party is starting to get out of hand so you can text your guests before your neighbours call the police!

High-technology tools… that save lives

An indoor camera system can be used to monitor young children or an elderly person experiencing loss of independence. A swimming pool can be equipped with a system to detect the presence of a person in the water. Carbon monoxide, smoke and gas detectors can be configured to alert you in an emergency even if you’re not at home. All of these gadgets exist… but do you really need them

Nowadays, it’s fairly easy to make your home smart(er) by making a few simple changes. And thanks to a number of government programs, you may be eligible for financial aid toward the cost of installing certain systems with the goal of reducing your home’s environmental and energy footprint. What’s more, adding a few home automation tools for centralized operation via one or more mobile apps (or Google Home) may even increase the resale value of your property!

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