Digital 3D Entertainment, Too
When more out-in-the-open entertainment is in order, the family and guests take in the view of the dedicated home theater’s 10-foot-wide Screen Excellence fabric display. It’s fed by a Runco LS-12d three-chip 1080p projector—serial number 1—with an AutoScope lens that converts images to the super-wide CinemaScope format. The projector is also capable of 3D and is accompanied by eight pairs of Runco 3D glasses, one for each theater seat.
The somewhat limited space dictated that in-wall speakers be used behind the acoustically transparent screen, so simpleHome installed CWM 7.3 models from Bowers & Wilkins. Two B&W CCM-682 surrounds and two Velodyne SC-1250 subwoofers behind acoustic panels on the side walls round out the 5.2-channel system, which is driven by a Savant card processor and Rotel amps.
As owners of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, Tim and Nancy love using the Apple-based Savant control system. “Being able to sit down with an iPad or iPhone and control the system from anywhere is easy and intuitive,” says Tim. “We have just about everything in the house on that system.” This includes surveillance feeds from the six high-definition bullet cameras and a 180-degree high-definition panoramic camera, as well as a video intercom at the front door. Scenes for movie watching and lighting can be set, and the system works with the Lutron HomeWorks lighting control system to operate that via the Savant app. Even more energy is saved by occupancy sensors that trigger the lights to turn off when someone has left the room.
Getting Smart About Energy
If Tim and Nancy want to see how much energy the house is using, they just press the energy icon on the Savant TrueControl iPad app, and it takes them to the SmartEnergy Monitor. Here they see an easy-to-read gauge of the energy used in the whole house or by individual circuit or system—by hour, day, week or month. By tapping on the appliances slice of a pie chart of energy consumption, for example, they can see how much electricity each appliance is drawing. “Look at that for a short amount of time, and you quickly see where your energy is going,” Tim says. “I really know now how much energy the house is using, and I’m empowered to control it.”
The system also has an away mode that puts the house into an energy-minimized state by automatically turning off all lights and audio/video equipment, setting back thermostats and cutting the water supply to the house, says Heim. In addition, emails go out to a local property manager and the homeowner when the security system arms and disarms, along with a list of who accessed the house on a weekly basis. SimpleHome can also be alerted to service anything, and can reboot some components via an Internet-connected Panamax BlueBolt power conditioning system.
Even with this bounty of digital automation, the beauty of the great outdoors is never more than a step or two away. Just by entering this rave new home, the Howes family auto-syncs their iDevices, knows their home is saving energy, and appreciates how our digital and natural worlds can make beautiful music together.
View more pictures inside this home here.
Follow Electronic House
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates