February 25, 2013
| by Arlen Schweiger
Lights, Cameras, Action!
On the second go-around, Structured Home Solutions installed the lighting control and security systems, which makes sense because the two really go hand-in-hand. Overall the home now features 12 zones of Lutron lighting and 22 zones of an Elk security system, with those key players also managed by Elan.
The Saltalamacchias had some exterior lighting as well as some “big wall-mounted exterior timers, that you kind of have to set as daylight changes, plus anybody that knew those were there could essentially set your lights off,” explains Febbraio. So one of the tasks Structured Home completed was eliminating those from the lighting system, taking the timers out and feeding all of the circuits inside instead. Structured Home then tied the Lutron system to a sunrise/sunset timer whose astronomic clock automatically changes throughout the year, and other changes can be made through the g! interface.
“The most unexpected benefit of the system is how easy it is for me to use from anywhere—I can be in Boston, Fort Myers (the Red Sox’ spring training home) or at home to do this,” Jarrod says. “All of the little things I used to have to worry about, like setting timers and the alarm every night are no longer a hassle. Now when we’re settling in for the night my wife and I don’t have to walk around the house to make sure everything is off, we can do it right from the couch on the iPad.”
There are two main “scenes” that govern the lighting system—HOME (or “stay” mode) and AWAY, which cater to the security tie-in. In AWAY mode, for instance, the system is preset to turn on and off interior lights at different times to make it appear the house is occupied, while security lights outside also go on. On the other hand, as Jarrod or Ashley enter the house, as soon as someone disarms the alarm system it triggers the HOME lighting mode (whose settings can also be changed on the fly) so certain zones go on/off or are dimmed. One area that’s benefited from the ability to dim is outside by the pool, whereas before the lights had to be at an un-neighborly full blast.
Related: See how another Elan g! installation helped ‘Cake Boss’ Buddy Valastro
For someone who makes a living by using signals—whether he’s flashing them to pitchers from behind home plate or receiving them from the third-base coach when he’s at the plate—Salty had no problems learning the signs, or icons, of the g! interface. Between his first and second visit, Febbraio noticed that the Saltalamacchias had already added about 30 stations to their streaming music services, a good sign that the family was not only enjoying their new electronics digs but that they were very comfortable with the new system. In fact, it’s the simplification of their home’s electronics into one interface, which can be controlled through handheld Elan remotes or Apple devices, that really knocks the system out of the park for the Saltalamacchias.
“I didn’t realize how much time we spent using all the different remotes [before]. It’s so much simpler and faster to do basic things with the g! system,” Salty says. “The only challenge is training ourselves to use it for everyday things and break our old habits. It’s like instinct to get up to turn off a light. … Is it a little different living with the system? Yes, and it’s better.”
And just like sports, the new technology’s biggest fans might be kids. “They just think the whole system is so cool! They’re growing up with iPhones and iPads, which is totally different from my childhood, and watching the lights and TVs go on from just tapping on these devices is basically like magic to them. I love that it’s easy enough for them to use and, of course, they’re excited to be able to do things the same way Mommy and Daddy do.”
Want to see other ballplayers’ high-tech homes? Check out LA Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez Savant-powered home and Pittsburgh’s Mark Melancon’s Niles audio system.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.