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Home Automation

Choosing an Automated Lighting System

Control4 Touch Panel

Whether you are building a new home or remodeling your existing, lighting should be a part of the equation. While you may tend to be more focused on audio and video if you enjoy movies and music, it’s important to consider all your options when it comes to installing a smart home automation system—this is especially true of lighting.

A home with automated lights should be easy to use, intuitive, and offer a host of benefits. Here are a few options from Lutron, one of the biggest manufacturers of automated lighting products in the world. They pioneered lighting controls decades ago and to this day continue to bring technology and innovation to homes and businesses around the world.

SEE ALSO: Practical Applications of a Home Lighting System

Caseta Wireless Products

Caseta Wireless products don’t require the installation of new wiring in your home. It’s the quickest automated lighting solution in both new and existing homes. It operates with energy-efficient, dimmable light bulbs and can control both in-wall and in-ceiling lights. There is also a plug-in lamp dimmer control module. This allows you to control every type of light in the house.

The Pico Remote Control, or Lutron App, you can turn all the lights off from anywhere in the house (or outside the house for that matter), adjust the lights and shades at any time during the day while you’re at work, and then from your car while you’re traveling or on the way home. This means you never have to come home to a dark house.

One of the more recent innovations is that Caseta Wireless works with Apple HomeKit so you can control the lights through voice command via Siri on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.

For Android devices, the Lutron App can downloaded from Google Play. You can even take this system to the next level by integrating Lutron’s shading system for even more energy savings.

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Additional Features

One of the biggest benefits of an automated lighting system is that it can be customized to suit your particular lifestyle. Keypads can reflect the exact scenes you want for each room. In the home theater for example, the buttons might say “Movie” “Intermission”, “All Off”, or “Reading”. Touch “Movie” and the lights will dim so that there is no light to wash out the image on the screen. “Reading” might leave some spot lights above the chairs on so your wife can read while you watch the game.

Keeping it clean and simple, the Grafik T dimmer enables you to swipe your finger along an LED strip to raise and lower the lighting level in a particular room. Tap the strip and all the lights will cycle between on or off.

You can even take your Lutron lighting system a step further by installing occupancy/vacancy sensors which automatically detect your presence and turn the lights on accordingly. As soon as you leave, the system turns them off so you’re not wasting money and energy on an empty room.

Home Automation & Home Theater In Rosemary Beach

Alys Beach Sonos Soundbar

Smart Home and Surround Sound Installation

This project in Rosemary Beach, FL utilized many of our preferred technologies.  It is ideal for showcasing how audio video equipment can be hidden to minimize it’s impact on the decor of the home.

Audio Video Details

Invisible speakers from Stealth Technologies were used throughout the house.  These in-wall speakers are installed during the drywall phase of the project to ensure they blend seamlessly with the rest of the wall.  They are then painted to become completely invisible.

Artwork was used to hide the TV in the living room home theater system.  When not in use it is completely hidden behind a painting.   A Sonos wireless Sound Bar mounted below the TV provides high quality audio and takes up very little space.  Sources include Apple TV, HD Cable, and online music sources such as Pandora and Rhapsody.

This same setup is utilized throughout the house allowing each TV access to music, HD cable, and movies from sources such as Netflix and Hulu.

Home Automation Details

Control4 home automation products were used throughout this installation.  Audio video, lighting control, automated shades, and the climate control system are all seamlessly integrated into touch screen controls.

Lighting keypads were used throughout the house to cut down on the amount of wall clutter.  All the lights in each room can be turned on or off using one button press.  These same keypads also control automated shades and blinds allowing the homeowner quick and efficient control over lighting levels and privacy.

This lighting system also allows the entire home to be turned on or off with the press of a single button.

All of the climate zones of the house can monitored and set from any of the touch screens or smart phone devices.  This allows the homeowners to turn the AC on or off from inside or outside of the house.  This is ideal in a vacation home as you can make sure the house is cooled before you or your guests arrive.  It also allows you to turn the system off remotely in case this wasn’t done before leaving.

Control4’s New EA Series of Automation Processors

Control4 has been a force in the home automation industry for over a decade now.  They were one of the first company’s to approach the industry with a view of driving down costs of equipment and installation time.  Before their entry into the market many home automation systems were EXTREMELY expensive, highly proprietary, and difficult to program.

10 years later they are continuing to innovate with EA series of processors.  These new processors are designed to increase overall system performance with additional processing power.  But they include some additional features that we’ll dive into as well.

The Control4 EA Series

Built with substantial processing power to ensure a highly responsive smart home experience that is both scalable and upgradable, the EA series of processors include three different models from which to chose.

>The EA-1

For those just stepping into home automation there is the EA-1 which is designed for single-room control.  Included with the EA-1 is the SR-260 remote.  This system is designed to automate everything in a typical home theater or family entertainment room.

This processor is the ideal starting point for complete room control.  It is capable of handling over 9,500 connected products including sources like Blu-ray players, satellite or cable TV boxes, gaming consoles, TVs and any other product that allows for infrared control.

It also features IP (internet protocol) control for web-enabled devices like Roku, Apple TV, and more.  The unit wirelessly communicates with other more common automation equipment such as lights, thermostats, automated locks, and more.

>The EA-3

The EA-3 is a step up from the EA-1 and integrates high-performance audio into it’s structure.  This includes three audio outputs for distributing up to three simultaneous audio streams from music sources.  One HDMI, one stereo analog, and one digital coax output.

It also features an integrated music server with built in functionality for Pandora, Rhapsody, Tidal, and TuneIn.

This unit is ideally suited for mid-sized systems.  It integrates fully with other Control4 home automation products including lighting, HVAC, security and more.

You can see it’s full spec sheet here.

>The EA-5

The EA-5 is the top of the line processor designed for the largest home automation systems allowing for integration and control of hundreds of devices.  This includes an advanced must-core processor that provides instantaneous control and feedback of all your smart home devices.

As with the EA-3, it also includes on-board high-resolution audio capabilities using high quality DACs (digital to analog converters).  The integrated music server works with Pandora, TIDAL, Deezer, TuneIn, and Rhapsody.

Designed from the ground up to offer the ultimate automation experience, the EA-5 has abundant processing power and can concurrently control hundreds of automated devices.  It simultaneously allows for browsing robust music libraries, distributing high-quality audio, and controlling a multitude of devices through even the largest homes.

It can manage sophisticated interior and exterior lighting control, integrate security and communications systems, and control the climate in multiple rooms.

Click here for the EA-5 spec sheet.

Smart Home Controller Cost

The Control4 EA-1 Bundle with Control4 SR-260 remote retails for $600.  The  EA-3 controller retails for $1000, and the EA-5  comes in at $2000.  These prices do not include installation. All three come with the latest Control4 Operating System 2.8.1, and are compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices including the Apple Watch.  They are backed by Control4’s standard 2-year warranty.

If you’re looking to step into your first home automation system, Control4 provides lots of options for getting started.  And as we’ve highlighted before, they are considered the best home automation system out there.