Eco Friendly Home Automation Solutions

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ACDS Villa OliveHome Automation solutions are not just making homes efficient but are also helping the environment by making them sustainable.

Imagine being able to control the lights, heating solutions, water and everything else in your home even when you are not inside it? Well, home automation solutions today allow you to do all this and more. And yes, these solutions are also ecofriendly too.

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Today automation has become quite commonplace and realtors are increasingly opting for home automation solutions. Automation is manifested in lighting, HVAC (High voltage alternating current) security and other BMS (building management system) like operation of motors, gates and the like. “Automation is an eco-friendly aspect as it saves energy. Almost 28-30% energy is saved due to automation. That’s the main purpose why people mainly look for automation. The initial investment is slightly 15-20% higher than the production cost. But the end user will obviously save 20-30% energy because of home automation,” avers N. Kalyanaraman, COO, Navin’s. GRAFF for instance has developed a complex shower system that can be controlled by a touch panel and offers the possibility to establish the maximum flow rate allowed during showers. Emanuela Tavolini, Director of Sales Europe, GRAFF  explains, “by adopting a technology already familiar to Smartphone and tablet users, the shower touchpads allow to control several multimedia functions with a simple hand touch. The final user can benefit from a technology which is very user-friendly and satisfying in terms of aesthetics. Watch videos, listen to music, enjoy the different shades of color lightening and several additional settings are all functions that can be controlled through a simple touch.” Faucets with water-saving aerator solutions allowing savings up to 40% of water are available today that can reduce the water flow from 11 to 7 liters per minute.

ACDS Varroc Corp 2
ACDS Varroc Corp 2

The Specifics

The home automation market today has myriad choices and can be operated through Wi-Fi from remote areas as well as from within a home. One more important advantage of this remote automation is you can ensure safety of house. “Very often you can monitor activities going in and around your house, even the support staff cannot misuse any of your gadgets/AC as it can be locked from remote areas. Based on Lux level lights turn on automatically with motion sensor and also curtains open based on Lux level. Lux is amount of light required. If required light is not there at day time, automatically the sensor will find Lux level of room and open curtain if required. Similarly HVAC can be controlled through automation, whenever needed and can avoid unnecessary running of ac/power. Based on Lux level lights can glow bright and dim, can set timer so during night light can switch on/off and in day hours in common areas like corridors, parking, gates, can have timer control to switch on and off. Bore well water, motor tank water can be controlled through automation and it saves tremendous energy,” explains Kalyanaraman.

ACDS matheran
ACDS matheran

Advantage Factor

The advantages of automation are quite obvious – it saves energy, time and money. “A 28% cost saving is a huge value, for example for a person who has bi-monthly current charge of Rs.15000, 30% saving is a huge amount. Over a period of years, this will be one of the major advantages to the customer,” says Kalyanaraman. What’s more is that there are now smarter solutions that are not just automated by tech but are also ecofriendly by design. For example, you get ecofriendly fans that work on a far more efficient motor and can be controlled with your phone. You can also install a smart thermostat (though these are not very common in Indian households) that control the climate at the least possible consumption of electricity. “We are in fact working with multiple vendors now to also enter the solar energy solutions space. There are at least 25 prominent solar panel brands in India. The consumer demand is quite high in individual homes in towns and smaller cities. However, the metros are also taking benefit by installing solar panels at a local or at a society level. The long term savings for independent buildings generally outweigh the investment in solar in the short run. What consumers need to understand is that solar energy solutions are not necessarily cost effective if you live in an apartment or a flat. Moreover, it’s not practical financially or technically either,” says Dhaval Joshi, Founder, Smarthome Nx.

ACDS Varroc Corp
ACDS Varroc Corp

Ecology Matters

Being able to use an ‘app’ to control your home has multifold benefits. For one, they allow users to ensure lights and fans are not left on while leaving a home in a hurry and they can be paired with motion sensors, occupancy sensors which will turn the lights off when no one is in the room. At the end of the day, all these automation solutions help save money and reduce the home’s overall carbon footprint. The new trend is to target and go off the grid , which would entail that one uses Solar and Wind Generation Modules and couple it with all single phase equipment’s (solar energy only provide single phase electricity) and LED lighting solutions. Solar Tube is a great product that captures natural ambient light, sun light from the terrace or roof and brings it to spaces that need illumination. This element consists of a glass dome patented super glossy tubes and glass diffuser at the terminal point. “This is an extremely efficient and zero maintenance product as it does not consume any energy and brings in natural light from Dawn to Dusk. A 350mm diameter tube can light up close to 750 sq. ft room. What it does is that the glass dome captures the natural ambient light and the glossy tubes concentrates and magnifies them till the diffuser which then lights up the room,” explains Architect Nirav Shah of ACDS.

Home Connect

There are several Indian brands that offer retrofit automation solutions. All these solutions are basically in the form of a module or a device that goes behind your existing switchboard. Retrofit solutions save time, save money and are often times having the same features as any other home automation solution. “What’s more is that there are also energy monitoring apps that allow users to see how much energy they are consuming and then change their lifestyle habits to maintain optimum energy bills. With the advent of IoT i.e. the Internet of Things, almost every new device that is coming into the market is connected to the Internet and has an app that enables it to control it on the cloud. Now, here’s the most interesting thing that starts to happen when you have your home on your cloud, ecofriendly features can be built right into it,” says Joshi. Automation can be done through a receiver equipment, that is connected to all devices including lights, fans, air conditioning etc. All you need to do is to divide your home into zones – example a kitchen zone, bed room zone, dining zone and the like. Each zone will have receiver and all the receivers will collectively have another receiver which will take control of home. “The biggest challenge in adoption ecofriendly home automation solutions is that the perception is that it is meant for luxury homeowners. The reality is far from this. One can get home automation done even for a small flat at a reasonable price without spending lakhs of rupees. In addition, the other big challenge is to find the right advice,” avers Joshi. However with choices galore, it is really upto you to make the smart decision to do your bit for the environment.

This story appeared in Smartlife’s June 2018 issue here: 

All pics in this post are courtesy ACDS

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