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Technology

The Benefits of Motorized Window Treatments

Saving Energy

Motorized shades, when properly integrated with a smart home control system, can help you to save a significant amount of money on your monthly energy bill.  In Southern states such as Florida, and South Carolina, it’s possible to save as much as ten percent.

How does this work exactly?

By closing and opening shades at the appropriate time you can change the rate at which your house stores and releases heat.  During the summer months closing shades during the brightest parts of the day reduces the amount of solar energy entering through your windows.  It also reduces heat transfer through the windows themselves.  This can have a dramatic impact on the internal temperature of your home.  The result is that the air inside the house remains cooler with having to run the air conditioning as often.

In the winter months the shades can trap heat in your home during the night, and open to allow more sunlight in during daylight hours.  The result is a significant energy savings.

Entertainment Purposes

Coastal homes in the Southeast get lots of sunshine.  This is great when you want it, but it can be a nuisance when you’re trying to watch a movie or your favorite TV show.  Integrating your motorized shades or blinds with your home entertainment system means that with the press of a button your TV turns on, the lights go down, and so do the shades.

This helps to reduce glare making your experience more enjoyable.  This is especially important in home theaters where projectors and large screens can be significantly impacted by ambient light.

Wake Up Naturally

So many of us are used to waking up with an alarm clock.  But our bodies are naturally designed to awaken with the appearance of daylight.  An automated home can raise your shades at sunrise, or any time of your choosing.  This means you can ditch the alarm clock and wake up the way nature intended.

Increase Your Home’s Security

Motorized blinds can be programmed to operate as though you are home, even when you’re on vacation or out of town on business.  This can be a powerful deterrent to burglars looking for easy prey.  Further integrating your shades and lighting system makes it even more convincing.  Your home will emulate your routine even though you may be 1,000 miles away.

Enhance Privacy

Lot’s of windows are great when you want to look out and see the beach.  But what about when you would like more privacy?  Those same windows offer strangers and neighbors a view right into your home.  With an automated shading solution you can press a single button and create a more private space for you and your family.

If you’d like to learn more about how motorized shades and blinds can enhance your lifestyle, contact us today.

5 Ways Home Automation Can Reduce Energy Costs

Smart Home Control and Security

The convenience of home technologies such as interior lighting control, motorized window shades, and other such innovations is obvious. What we’ve found over the years, however, is that many people aren’t aware of just how easy it is to save money by installing these products.

Intelligently designed home automation systems can help lower your home’s energy consumption, thus reducing your household expenses and your carbon footprint. There are several key ways in which lighting control, motorized shades, and other technologies can help you to save money.

Motorized Shades Help Reduce Heating and Cooling Costs

By automatically regulating the amount of heat which is able to enter and escape from your house, through the use of motorized shades, you can dramatically reduce your heating and air conditioning bills throughout the year.

Normally, changing shades on up to fifteen windows or more throughout the average two-story house, several times per day, would be a chore… and if you want it done while you’re not around, it would literally require someone coming to your house to do it for you.

Motorized shades remove the hassle, allowing you to program a series of actions in advance – or to remotely adjust your shades individually, from anywhere in the world if you like. Keeping your home cool has never been easier or more efficient.  When properly integrated into a smart home system, motorized shades can help keep your house several degrees warmer or cooler than normal, towards your advantage, and all while saving money on heat and AC.

Automated Climate Control Monitors Your Activity

Climate control – the heating and cooling of your house – can be automated, even on a room-by-room basis. Heating and cooling can be turned on and off, or raised and lowered as needed, depending upon whether or not there is activity within a room.  If there’s nobody around, why pay to heat or cool empty rooms?

This type automation is the hallmark of the equipment offered by Control4 and Savant. Over the course of months, the simple savings accumulated through the addition of automated climate control can add up to a significant amount of money.  Combined with other aspects of an automated home, this functionality can have  a significant impact on your overall energy usage.

Reduce Power Usage through Lighting Control

How many times have you climbed into bed only to realize you left a light on in another room? With lighting control you don’t have to get up to go turn it off.  It’s as simple as pressing a single button to turn off all the lights in your house.

You can program settings in advance, or use a mobile device to change your house’s lighting mode from anywhere in the world. Lights can be automatically dimmed, or programmed to turn off at key times of the day – such as when you’re going to bed. The need to remember to turn off the lights after leaving a room – a particular concern in a house with children – is gone; now, you can do that from anywhere. All of this combines to significant savings on your electric bill.

Reduce Phantom Energy Use

The term “phantom energy” is an increasingly common one. It refers to the power drain through appliances which are left in “energy friendly” modes, idling or dormant. The term “energy friendly” is something of a misnomer, since it refers to a mode in which the appliance – such as a computer, or a television set – isn’t actually serving any purpose, but is still drawing power.

Many appliances draw a surprising amount of power, even while they’re turned off: on average, this represents up to ten percent of your monthly electric bill. Traditionally, the only solution to this is to unplug appliances while they’re not in use – right down to your microwave, and your washing machine. Now there are devices that can tie into your energy management system allowing you to negate these appliances’ “standby” modes in a much more convenient fashion.

Integrate Energy Management Systems for Personal Monitoring

Energy management systems, such as solar panels, can be integrated into your smart home system as well.  This allows you to monitor electrical production, usage, and even chedule functions which draw the most power accordingly.

Much of this can even be handled automatically, allowing you to augment the savings provided by your solar panels – without having to worry about changing settings manually from one day to the next.

5 Ways Lighting Control Can Enhance Your Home

Modern home automation has produced innovations which were a pipe dream a mere ten years ago, but which have rapidly gained in popularity..

Through mobile internet connectivity and local device networking, you can control everything from your lights to your motorized window shades at the touch of a button.

But aside from the convenience and the “gadget factor,” a lighting control system can offer significant enhancements to the safety, energy efficiency, and overall look of your home.

Highlight Architectural Details and Art

A great deal of time and money goes into the design and construction of your living space. Many modern homes feature innovative architectural designs as well as important pieces of art. Light allows you to call attention to these important features and pieces.

The creation of “scenes” within an automated lighting system allows you to do just that. With the push of a button, you can activate preset lighting levels for a single room or your entire house. Popular choices include scenes for daytime, evening, and entertainment, but the options are unlimited.

Light plays an extremely important role in setting mood and ambiance. A lighting system allows you to do this both quickly and easily

Time Savings

Lighting systems offer a great many practical applications. Perhaps you’re used to walking around your home, turning lights on and off as you go. But imagine if your home could sense when a room was in use and adjust the lighting accordingly. Not only does this provide convenience, but consider the potential for energy savings.

How often have you forgotten to turn off a light upon leaving a room, leaving it on for hours? Or perhaps it’s time for bed. Many of us are used to walking around the house turning off all of the lights. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Automated lighting systems allow you to press one button on a keypad next to your bed and turn all the lights off in the entire house.

Ease of Use

It’s a small nuisance, but it’s one that occurs over and over again. Our keypads are clearly labeled and illuminated so you can tell which button to press whether it’s light or dark. One button illuminates the entire room.

Through the use of a home remote, such as that offered by companies such as Control4 further enhances your level of control. You can adjust individual lights one at a time as needed – without having to get up out of your comfortable chair.

Enhanced Security & Safety

This is one of the most popular inquiries made with regards to home automation, and yes – you can tie it into your home security system. In fact, the technology behind home automation arose from that which has been in use in remotely monitored home security systems for decades. There are a variety of popular functions available, such as turning on your home’s exterior lighting in the event that an alarm is tripped.

Your Home Works While You’re on Vacation

A “Vacation Mode” setting allows you to set multiple processes to run automatically according to a schedule, while you are out of town.

Once in vacation mode your home will turn lights on and off, shades can be raised and lowered, all to give the impression that the home is occupied. In addition to a home security system and cameras, lighting can offer a powerful deterrent to burglars while you are thousands of miles from home.

If you’d like to learn more about automating your living space with a lighting system, contact us to set up a demonstration at any of our four offices around the Southeast.

Practical Applications of a Lighting Control System

Custom Lighting Keypad

One of the most powerful components of a fully “automated” home is the lighting system.  Automated lighting not only enhances the look of your home, it can also contribute to considerable energy savings over time.  Let’s take a look at a few of the more practical applications of today’s automated lighting solutions.

Automated Lighting Keypad

Long Term Energy Savings

Lighting typically makes up 10% of a homes overall energy expenditure.  A home automation system with integrated lighting contributes to long-term energy cost-savings.  This is done by automatically reducing or eliminating lighting loads in rooms that are no longer in use.  Through the use of occupancy sensors, heat sensors, and light level sensors a system can instantly respond to it’s environment and adjust light levels accordingly.

What does this mean?

Perhaps your children often leave lights on when leaving a room.  A lighting control system will detect this and turn the lights off after a pre-programmed amount of time.

The average American household incurs 18% of their energy costs from air conditioning.  A lighting system can also be integrated with motorized shades and blinds.  This is one of the fastest ways to realize significant energy cost savings.  Sensors in a room can detect sunlight and lower blinds to reduce the load on your cooling system.  This is especially important in coastal areas where bright sunlight and lots of windows contributes to high energy consumption during the hotter months of the year.

Enhancing The Look of Your Home

Traditional lighting systems are either “all on” or “all off”.  The use of dials or rheostats allows for some additional control, but require manual adjustment every time you turn on the lights.

A lighting system allows each button on a keypad to be pre-programmed for a specific function.  All you do is press a button, but behind the scenes light levels are precisely controlled to best accent the features of the room.  This might mean highlighting a specific piece of art, using up-lighting to create a dramatic effect, or lowering the lights for watching your favorite movie.

In addition to the enhanced control, lighting keypads reduce wall clutter.  Multiple switches are consolidated into one keypad that is clearly labeled and backlit for easy use.  No more searching for the right switch each time you enter a room.  Simply press the “on” button and walk away.

At Innovative Sight & Sound we can help you choose the right lighting solution for your home.  Through design and program we can ensure you get the maximum benefit from an aesthetic point of view.

Enhanced Security

Integrating your lighting system with your home’s alarm system can significantly enhance it’s effectiveness in several ways.

When an alarm is triggered the lights in your home can be programmed to flash on and off.  This attracts attention and reduces the odds that an intruder will enter your home.  Since most of us have grown accustomed to loud alarm sirens, anything you can do to draw additional attention to your home makes for a powerful deterrent.

This same solution can also increase your family’s safety in case of a fire.  When smoke or fire is detected the system can automatically turn on specific lights creating a path to the fastest escape route for you and your children.

You can also use a key fob to turn on lights before you even enter the home.  No more entering in complete darkness.

At Innovative Sight & Sound we are proud to offer lighting products from both Control4 and Lutron.

3 Ways Whole House Audio Enhance’s Your Lifestyle

An intelligent home audio system can change the way you listen to your favorite music. Imagine being able to quickly and easily select your favorite music and have it play in any room you like.  Each person in the house has their own dedicated zone that allows them to listen to whatever they like. Our whole house audio solutions offer the ultimate in flexibility without sacrificing the decor of your home.  When combined with our Control4 home automation solutions you’ll experience the ultimate in convenience

Keep Equipment Out of Sight

Stealth Acoustics specializes in designing speakers that are completely hidden from view. This enables us to design a system that offers incredibly rich sound without impacting the look of your home. The speakers can be installed in the ceiling or walls of your home offering a great deal of flexibility depending on your needs.

All audio equipment can be located in a central location that is out of sight and out of mind. All you have to do is select your favorite music by using the simple control interface on your iPhone or tablet. Then you select the rooms and the volume level. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

We also offer creative ways to hide your TV from sight as well.

Prepare Your Space for Your Enjoyment

Without having to worry about impacting the look of your home, you can place speakers throughout your entire home. This enables us to create distinct music zones for each member of the family. This allows everyone to get the most out of their favorite entertainment without disrupting others. Innovative Sight & Sound has a number of options available depending on your budget and needs.

We can even install acoustical treatments to further isolate rooms from one another. Home theaters and media rooms are a perfect example of spaces in which you want great sound, but you don’t want to hear it throughout the rest of the house. We can install sound dampening systems that isolate these rooms leaving the rest of your home peaceful and quiet.

Bring Your Music Outdoors

james outdoor speaker systems

We also offer a host of outdoor solutions for your backyard and pool areas. Speakers can be hidden through a variety of methods. We can even deliver deep, rich bass with an in-ground subwoofer. All the wiring is installed in the ground so you’ll never see anything. Control is as simple as the press of a button.

The weather along the coast can be harsh on equipment, but we use products that are designed to withstand the elements.

Contact us today to see how we can deliver a simple-to-use system in your beach home or coastal residence.