At the flick of a switch
Fully automated energy and water saving systems are set to change the way we reduce our ecological footprint, writes Angela Tufvesson.
When you look closely, home automation and sustainable living are more closely linked than you might imagine.
Both require the seamless integration of a variety of components in the pursuit of a central goal – whether it be a fully automated home or an eco-friendly building. In each case the components must fit together like the pieces of a puzzle.
So what happens when a client wants both – does it become an integration of the integrated?
In the case of Jory Home Systems, the owners of a home wanted not only a fully automated system but also a design that did not rely on external energy or water supplies.
The home sits on a small acreage in Somersby, north of Sydney, and caters for varying numbers of family members at any one time.
“The owners have family members that live overseas and come for long-term stays,” Jory Home Systems director Glenn McJannett says.
“As the owners themselves also travel frequently, they wanted to provide minimal input throughout the development of the project and leave us to our own devices.
“The solution was a passive solar design that allows the home to be partly shut down when just the two owners are in residence.
“The home is in a U-shaped plan, with the two wings forming a courtyard protected from prevailing winds.
“It features double-glazing and a mix of automated and fixed louvres for sun control. Also noteworthy are the solar panels on the north-facing roofs of the garage and machinery shed, a huge 100,000L rainwater tank and an aerobic system that purifies blackwater and greywater for reuse in irrigation.”
A large amount of solar energy is stored on site, so the Clipsal C-Bus automation system was chosen to manage it all.
“The C-Bus system plays an important role in managing the distribution of that energy,” Glenn says.
“The system actually improves the home’s overall green performance and makes the most of its solar power.
“Having C-Bus stagger the time of use for different appliances, so everything isn’t running at once, means the owners are able to draw most of their power from the solar panel. This minimises the power they take from the grid.”
If the home loses mains power, which happens from time to time due to its rural location, the system automatically switches over and power is received from the solar source.
It immediately cuts the use of non-essential appliances and trims the use of power-hungry items like pool filters and towel racks.
What’s more, the system will announce to those in the home that the grid is down and it is about to turn off lighting and other non-essentials to reduce power consumption. This action can be reversed with the press of a button.
Unoccupied guest accommodation can also be shut down in one go, with an ‘away mode’ allowing for a power saving when the owners are out.
“The C-Bus and electrical systems were installed in the house over an 18-month period,” Glenn says.
“Jory Home Systems worked in conjunction with Solar On-line to configure the electrical supply to the home and monitor the grid and solar set-up.”
The result satisfies the needs of the client on both fronts – home automation and environmental sustainability – and creates a space in which eco-living can be achieved at the flick of a switch.