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For many years, Paul Grey has worked with cutting edge technology and decided early this year that it was time to bring that experience to his home setup.
Frustrated with his ever increasing energy bill, the first thing on his agenda was making his heating and hot water system as efficient as possible and working at peak performance.
"I needed to get my heating bill to a manageable level and quickly"
After taking those initials steps, he could use the savings to add lighting, security and other features to his network. Building the system up gradually allowed Paul to spread the costs. By not rushing, he was also able to learn as he went, giving the opportunity to configure things optimally along the way.
Since Paul is keeping up with all the new technology that hits the street, he looked at products like Hive and Nest but he needed something that integrated with his existing system.
So Z-Wave was the answer after looking at the extensive amount of products offered and he could mix and match as he expands his system. After investigating into the available controller options, such as the Fibaro Home Center 2 and the Vera family, Paul finally decided to opt for a Vera Lite.
It provided the level of control sought after but more importantly with its active developer community and application plug-ins, it fulfilled all the requirements for future device support and additional functionality.
Paul already had solar PV panels installed on his property and wanted to utilize excess generated electricity to heat his domestic hot water. He also wanted to integrate the ability to monitor his hot water storage tank for feedback to his hot water control setup.
Paul incorporated a Secure SSR302 two-channel boiler receiver to work in conjunction with an iQE wireless thermostat used for general house temperature monitoring with the Vera Lite.
The Vera Lite also provides a number of scenes to control the hot water tied into some logic further refining the control.
Within the airing cupboard of the bathroom, the hot water storage tank temperature is monitored by a Fibaro Universal Sensor fitted with 4 Dallas temperature probes and provides the tank temperature readings for the top (100%), three-quarters (75%), half (50%) and one-quarter (25%) levels.
For logging these temperature readings, Paul uses the Vera dataMine graphing and logging plug-in. Now he is able to analyze the hot water usage and profile when its needs additional heating depending on tank temperature capacity. This is especially useful with the capability of using the excess PV generated electricity to provided water heating during sunny days.
Future plans are to incorporate the weather forecast for the day into the equation to further control whether there is a need for a morning boost of gas hot water heating.
For the heating needs of the house, Paul have has been divided it into a number of zones based on their usage and functionality.
Within these zones, the majority of radiators are fitted with Danfoss Living Connect thermostats and controlled by the Vera Lite.
Paul has also used the Vera Lite to program a number of scenes using timed events along with motion and temperature sensors to control the heating in the zones.
Since heat rises in a home, one of the first places Paul attacked was the attic. He installed an Aeotec Multisensor to provide light & temperature level along with motion sensing so he could balance the heating in comparison to the rest of the house.
Using the readings from the Aeotec Multisensor, Paul programmed the Vera Lite to send signals to the Danfoss Living Connect thermostat on his attic radiator to adjust the temperature to a lower level.
Paul also installed Danfoss Living Connect thermostats to the radiators in all of the bedrooms to further control heating.
An Everspring ST814 Temperature and Humidity sensor is also fitted in the hallway to provide additional sensor feedback to cut his heating bill even further.
In addition to controlling the hot water and heating, Paul also wanted to include intelligent lighting control and integrated security sensors and CCTV cameras into his system.
Starting in the hallway, a Fibaro Universal Dimmer was installed and the Vera Lite was programmed so that prior to sunset, the hall lighting automatically comes on and turns off just before midnight.
In addition, an Everspring SP814 Motion Detector was fitted to include the stairs and provides ad-hoc lighting in the early hours by use with a TKB TZ68 On/Off socket controlling a night light.
In the Lounge area, an Everspring SP814 Motion Detector was fitted to the ceiling of the room covering the area and provides for the control of a table light via an Everspring AN1572 On/Off Socket.
The garage was fitted with both an Everspring HSM02 Door/Window detector and SP103 Motion Detector to provide both security and lighting control.
All external doors are fitted with Everspring HSM02 Door/Window detectors and are used in conjunction with the security logic in the Vera Lite. All security events are reported via email to Paul as well as triggering various features and/or alarms.
In the future, lighting control is planned for the attic using the motion and light level capabilities of the Aeotec Multisensor that is already installed and integrate some of the CCTV and additional security functions of the house into the system for better monitoring.
Paul also wants to use the MyVera application with the kitchen Android tablet to provide an intuitive and easy to use GUI for the rest of the household.
In his role as Chief Geek of the family, Paul also wants to develop some customized Android applications for the system to wring even further savings out of his system.
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