For years, it’s been all about the design. Since the 90s some of the best architects, builders and interior designers in the business have collaborated to create a one-of-a-kind home for HGTV’s popular annual Dream Home giveaway. This year, HGTV added a home systems integrator to the mix to incorporate a smattering of high-tech elements into the 3,400-square-foot mountain home, located in the heart of Stowe, Vermont, ski country.
One of the most notable technologies featured in the well-appointed ski-in/ski-out chalet, and a favorite of Dream Home planner Jack Thomasson is the Lutron Sivoia® QS Wireless shading and RadioRA® 2 lighting system.During an exclusive press tour this week, Thomasson demonstrated to the Electronic
House editors how the lighting and shading systems can enhance the comfort, efficiency and appearance of the home’s interior via a Lutron Home Control+ app that had been previously loaded onto an iPad. From it, lights throughout the residence could be instantly brightened and dimmed to the preferred level and shades opened and closed to any position.
Enormous floor to ceiling windows dominate the south side of the house, so during a sunny afternoon it was easy to see the benefit of having fingertip control over the home’s 64 shades, both in terms of comfort and energy efficiency. “This house has more windows than any other Dream Home,” notes Thomasson. Plus, with many shades reaching more than 160 inches high, manual operation would have been extremely laborious. “It’s such a luxury to be able to ‘shut down’ this house at the touch of a button,” says Thomasson. “In previous Dream Homes, it’s taken 45 minutes to turn off and close up everything.” Most of the shades during the press visit were rolled up and hidden behind their custom-crafted cedar valances, which permitted a fabulous view of the mountain, but allowed some of the rooms to become uncomfortably warm—another reason why the Lutron shading system was so important to this particular project. By lowering the shades Thomasson was able to instantly block out the sun to allow those sun-soaked areas to cool down.
Currently, the Lutron RadioRA system is set up so that each shade can be controlled individually via an in-wall keypad or an iPad. Lights can be operated individually, as well, and also as part of a lighting scene. The home’s systems contractors at Tree Ridge Enterprise, Bristol, Vermont, created a handful of scenes for each room, but according to Tree Ridge’s Martin Hawkes, global scenes designed to sweep through all areas of the house to adjust the lights and shades synchronously in preparation for bedtime, for example, could be added to the RadioRA2 at any time if the award winners choose to do so. The winner of the 2011 Dream Home will be announced on March 19. The $2 million prize package will include the fully-furnished home, $500,000 and a GMC Acadia Denali.
In addition to lighting and shade control, the 2011 Dream Home was also outfitted with a Sonos whole-house music system, several flat-panel TVs, HAI Omni security system, Honeywell HVAC system, and OmniMount articulating TV mount.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.
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