Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Home Automation

Photo by Deutsches Uhrenmuseum Furtwangen

Home automation is not just for nerds like me anymore. It promises energy efficiency, convenience, and a bit of fun. And it’s *much* easier to setup than it used to be.

I’m an engineer so I like to start from requirements, and I think you should too. Here are the requirements for our new showcase apartment LifeEdited 2:

  • Light control
  • Fan control
  • Door lock control
  • Smoke alarm
  • Air quality monitoring
  • Energy usage monitoring

Once you know what you want, I suggest looking at the ecosystems that support most of the above:

  • Nest / Google ecosystem
  • Insteon ecosystem
  • Amazon Echo ecosystem
  • Apple HomeKit ecosystem
  • Belkin ecosystem
  • Savant ecosystem
  • SmartThings ecosystem
  • Lowe’s Iris ecosystem
  • Wink ecosystem
  • And yes, there are more ecosystems

Since that is a rather daunting list, let me tell you a little about the systems that we chose for LifeEdited 2:

  • Nest. We have a Nest Protect (smoke & carbon monoxide detector) and a Nest Indoor Cam. We’ll write more about these in another post. But in short, they’re great.
  • Works with Nest. Nest also has a Works With Nest program for other manufacturers. We have a BigAss Haiku ceiling fan and Hunter Douglas motorized blinds. In other words, lots of automated ways to keep people comfortable without spending a lot on heating, cooling, and lighting.
  • Insteon. We are using Insteon in-wall switches, dimmers, keypads, and fan controllers. All of which can also be programmed and controlled from an app. It’s amazing how the feel of the apartment changes with the “relax” scene that dims all of the lights in the apartment.
  • Amazon Echo. Graham bought an Amazon Echo for the voice control. It works with a surprising number of home automation components. Graham also now has a Google Home device, and it will be interesting to see how it compares to the Amazon Echo.

Are you using Home Automation? We’d love to hear your experiences.

This post is one in a series that describes our LifeEdited 2 showcase apartment. LifeEdited 2 embodies our green, space efficient, and minimalist principles. We view LifeEdited 2 as a lab for experiencing things that are consistent with these principles. Some of the products above were given to us (Nest Protect, Nest Indoor Cam, BigAss ceiling fan, Hunter Douglas motorized blinds, Insteon equipment).