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Making the Smart Home a Reality

By Lauren Busser, The House Designers Contributing Writer

It's been twenty years since the Disney Channel premiered their original movie 'Smart House' back in 1999. Katey Sagal played the artificial intelligence named 'Pat' who could operate every part of the house, from the lights to the alarm system. Fifteen years later we are starting to see these technologies in our home. Sure, the floor absorbers and the automated smoothie maker are probably still pretty far off, but there are plenty of home automation solutions that can make your life more convenient and comfortable, as well as save you money.

The buzz around home automation has grown as much as 300% since 2011 with much of the interest being in security and lighting, but climate control, home theater and audio are also popular topics in discussions regarding home automation. Simple things like dimming lights can shave as much as 20% from your electric bill. But acually remembering or being available to turn down the lights (or getting the kids to do it) at a certain time each day might not always be feasible. To answer this and a variety of other needs, companies have introduced 'smart', or learning systems that can be set to work around you and your family's routine.

Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest® Learning Thermostat™ is a user-friendly thermostat that learns the temperatures you like over the course of a few days and then creates your own personalized schedule.

The power of the iPad® has been harnessed to make control of automated home systems simple and intuitive. Companies like SAVANT have adapted it to control lighting, climate, home theater, communications, and whole house audio as well as safety and security.

SAVANT home systems can be tailored to meet any need, from simple home security to elaborate, fully automated rooms. At the heart of every Savant commercial or residential home installation is the Savant Host Controller. There are a few different systems to choose from, including the Smart and Pro systems. Each offers the same software and user-friendly interface that delivers an amazing whole-home experience. They even offer an upgrade called SAVANT Plus for remote access to your system.

SAVANT Experience Center

This bedroom in the Savant Experience Center in New York City is covertly controlled with SAVANT's automated systems.

If you're intrigued, a visit to SAVANT's New York City Experience Center might be in order. The SAVANT’s Experience Center is less like walking into a showroom and more like walking into a posh Manhattan apartment. The residential area includes a master bedroom/bath, a kitchen, a music/piano/media area and home theater all expertly controlled with various Apple® products. Shades can be raised/lowered, lights dimmed and turned on and off, and the content on television and audio systems changed, all from an iPad in the homeowner’s hands.

Lest you think that an automated home system is beyond your means, know that SAVANT’s systems run the gamut from single room installations with simple features to comprehensive, whole-home controllers with every conceivable option.

Lutron HomeWorks

You might not guess that this home was originally built in the Nineteenth Century. A HomeWorks® lighting system from Lutron® keeps the integrity of the architecture intact while making the home more convenient and efficient.

While the technology hasn't quite gotten to the level of Star Trek’s replicators or autonomous robotic helpers, everything from total home automation to a simple lighting and security system is available now, at a price that's within reach.

Shelvin House Plan

Ready for a modern home? Check out our new Shelvin house plan! For more energy saving options this home can be designed for passive solar applications.