5 Innovations to Consider When Planning Your Renovation
It is the era of the ‘SMART’; Smart phones, Smart televisions and now, Smart homes. Virtually everything, down to the temperature of a room, can now be controlled wirelessly. Whilst some of these innovations can be on the pricey side, they are worth considering when planning a renovation to bring your home into the modern era. We strongly suggest research before you get your final architectural drawings passed through Building Control to save yourself time and money. As always, we are on hand with our experiences and knowledge to guide you through any design queries you have.
We have picked our top 5 innovations to upgrade your home and make it the envy of its neighbours.
1. “Remote Controlled Thermostats”
Forget on, off and temperature adjustments, thermostats just got smart. We like to think of them as little temperature-controlling butlers; you don’t need to do anything, they do it all for you. From the moment you get your smart thermo-butler through the door they start learning about your habits; how you use your heating, when you use it, when you are home or out, even what the weather outside your home is doing and what they can do to make it more comfortable for you (inside your home, that is – they can’t control the weather. They are good but not that good)! All very impressive but none more so, in our opinion, then those products that track your GPS so your home can be exactly as you want it when you get in from work – those thermo-butlers just got upgraded.
2. “Smart Home Protection Systems”
Where the thermostats are your butlers, the latest gadgets to offer a ‘smart’ overhaul on your home protection systems are your very own security guards – or as good as. Via your smartphone these systems allow you to remotely monitor and control your home; lock or unlock doors, receive up to date pictures and reports any time of the day, turn the lights on or off, be notified when motion is detected, monitor cameras when sensors are triggered and silence alarms. The biggest selling point for us is the ability to create your own ‘rules’ for the system; have the lights turn on when motion is detected, have doors unlock when smoke alarms go off or have cameras begin recording when a sensor is triggered.
The products in the higher end of the price bracket come complete with professional installation and third party monitoring – so if an alarm goes off in your home they contact the police or the fire brigade for you. If you go for a cheaper version, you’ll have to install it and be the one to call the emergency services if needed.
3. “Smart Lighting”
I imagine you are starting to spot the trend here, and this point is no different. Use your smart phone to control all the light switches in your home, remotely. Not only that, but use it to configure and control the colour and intensity of each and every single bulb. Set lighting routines for different activities or times of the day that fit in with your lifestyle; imagine soft early morning lighting to gently rouse you from sleep, the ability to switch off all the lights in the house via a master switch next to the front door as you leave (say goodbye to the last minute dash to each room to check the nightlights are switched off), or the subtle, dim motion sensor lights in the bathrooms that turn off after a few minutes for those dead of night calls of nature. Not only can you control all of this from your smart phone, but when you have closed the door on the office for the day and are on your way home, you can set your lighting to be on, ready and waiting for when you walk through the door – now that’s impressive, everyone likes coming home to a cosy house, especially in the winter.
4. “Smart Plugs”
Do you have a habit of forgetting to turn off the iron when you leave the house? Or, when you put that electric razor on to charge when you leave for work, wish the socket would turn off when it was fully charged? Or maybe you long for the ability to switch on the prepared slow cooker to heat your casserole through so it is ready for you and your family when you get in from work. Smart plugs are the answer to that. You can now control every plug socket in your home via an app on your smartphone. Not only is this safe (a master switch near the front door can turn off every socket with one push of the button), it is a god send to the frugal among us. You will see costs cut dramatically on your electricity bill (or so we are told) just by setting up a routine via the app on your phone – set it so those electricity draining devices are switched off when the kids aren’t at home and you are at work. Fool proof.
5. “The Control Hub”
Phew, that’s a lot of SMART, right? If you are going the full way with your renovation (lighting, electricity, heating and security) then there are a number of options available on the market to help you control it all, so you won’t need a slew of app’s to keep on top of everything. Not only this, but products like ‘Amazon Echo’ (which, after writing this article, I’m going to convince my husband to let us buy) allow you to integrate everything, so all it takes is a simple voice command and voila, the electrics get switched off when you leave the house. Products like this may involve a little setting up time, so be prepared to spend an hour or two (in my case, five) getting everything the way you want it. Soon, you won’t be lifting a finger.
The information in this Coffee Break article is intended for guidance only. The authors cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage which may result from the use of this article.