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Thank you again for all your support so far- it’s been monumental!

Posted by virginia2 Mon, 10 Jun 2013 16:47:00 GMT

Waterproof Crestron Remote

For those who want to keep their remotes outside or play with them in the pool or jacuzzi, Crestron has an answer: a weather-proof remote. It even floats!

Crestron describes their UFO Waterproof Wireless LCD Remote (UFO-WPR-3ER) as “A rugged, waterproof remote with extended range RF performance and advanced color LCD display.” Its color screen and large, easy to press buttons can be used to control your outdoor lighting, jacuzzi, TV, music, and more.

Go here to see a video of it in action where we most recently installed it:

Crestron's Floating Remote

Posted by ryan Fri, 15 Mar 2013 20:47:00 GMT

Seura Outdoor TVs - How it works

If you are considering a television for an outdoor space, think twice before you install an off-the-shelf TV. Outdoor technology is more sophisticated than simply waterproofing. Designed to withstand debris impact, weather conditions, extreme temperature changes, contaminants, and solar brightness, Séura’s Storm is a high-performance television ideal for the discerning homeowner.

1. Bezel Constructed of high-grade metal, the bezel is responsible for holding together and protecting the elements of the outdoor screen. Removable, the bezel allows front access to parts for maintenance and cleaning.

2. Anti-Reflective Safety Glass Coated with a specially formulated anti-reflective coating, the dual-layer glass refracts sunlight, so reflections and glares don’t interfere with the picture. Tempered safety glass is strong and resistant to impact.

3. Precision O-ring System Creates a tight seal, protecting internal parts from rain, snow, and moisture.

4. Ultra-High Brightness Panel With more than double the brightness of a typical HDTV (Storm boasts 700cd/m2), high brightness panels perform well in sunny environments. Conventional televisions are not bright enough to be viewed in daylight.

5. Air Refinement Intake Filter Dedicated for air intake only, this durable composite filter removes contaminates such as sand, smoke, dust, and insects before the air enters the product.

6. Airflow System External air takes a dual path, cooling the TV screen across the front as well as the electrical components along the back. As the air takes on heat from these components, it rises and is drawn out the back of the product through a bank of ultra-quiet fans.

7. Robust Housing Aircraft-grade, light-weight aluminum construction withstands impact and cosmetic wear and tear. Powder-coated with a durable finish. Whether tested by Mother Nature or a stray baseball, the rugged build will continue to perform unscathed.

8. Protected Media Compartment Spacious media compartment has room for media boxes and cable anchors with space for hands to comfortably manage. Removable cover for easy access.

9. Weatherproof Integration Connections Designed for robust integration, weather-appropriate adapters connect video sources and control systems to an extensive array of connectivity options.

10. Speakers Speakers are protected from the elements and offer robust sound in most applications. For a more encompassing audio solution, integrate the TV with an outdoor speaker system using the built-in amplifier.

Posted by chantal Fri, 13 Jul 2012 16:13:00 GMT

Home Automation

Will home automation become something that we can’t imagine living without? Jeff Wilson takes us on a tour of a design showroom that highlights some of the time- and energy-saving benefits of automation.

Wed Feb 15 2012 Written by Jeff Wilson

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Home automation sounds a little intimidating. Just the mention makes me think of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek – seamless integration of controls for everything from lighting and sound to heating and air-conditioning to security and energy-efficiency. Oh, and don’t forget to set those phasers to stun.

Ten years ago, the only kind of home automation I’d heard of was “the Clapper,” which I didn’t think I’d have any use for until I was old enough to fall and not be able to get back up. Times have changed, though, as I learned during my recent visit to the Crestron Design Showroom in New York City – Crestron is an automation company well known in commercial building for their very high quality and attention to detail. Bryan Celli, the Design Showroom Manager, gave me a tour of the Crestron facility in the Decoration and Design Building in Manhattan.

According to Celli, Crestron has helped office towers and hotel chains to manage their energy use more efficiently by automating simple tasks like lighting and HVAC. When you check into a hotel, for example, the heat is turned up automatically and the lights are turned on so that when you reach your room, it’s warm and inviting. Until you got there, however, the lights were off and the room was cold. Pretty smart. With such large buildings, the large, up-front costs are easily offset by the energy savings over time.

It used to be that automation solutions for homes were far too expensive, and most companies that dabbled in home automation only tackled one aspect, like lighting or audio and video. Homeowners who dished out the cash to put in these early systems soon found themselves with five remotes for different systems that couldn’t “talk” to each other because they were made by different manufacturers. That resulted in cobbled-together systems that didn’t really work as intended.

Enter Crestron – this company employs an army of engineers to make sure that all aspects of their system work together effortlessly, and it uses technology like touchscreen controls to make using the systems intuitive.

They even have apps (and docking stations) for your tablet or smart phone, so you can (for example) unlock the door for the plumber while you’re at work (and lock it again when he leaves and know how long he was in the house) or set the thermostat lower at home when you’re on vacation. But that’s just the beginning.

From a convenience standpoint, imagine tapping one icon marked “Movie Time” and having the lights dim, the motorized shades lower, and the home entertainment system boot up. Then, from that same control, sort through the movies on your home server and start the show (I’m sure automated popcorn is in the works). Tap an icon that says “Goodnight,” and the lights turn off, shades drop, all doors lock, and the security system is armed. Another icon marked “Dinner Party” brings down the lights a bit and brings up your favorite Ella Fitzgerald collection at just the right listening level. “Have to get up in the middle of the night?” Celli asks, motioning to small downlights mounted in the walls about a foot off the floor. “These will come on automatically, giving you some light to get down the hall, and then shut off again when you’re back in bed.” For me, that would mean no more stubbed toes at 3 AM. Pretty nice.

From an energy-efficiency standpoint, Crestron’s systems can be customized to control your heat and air conditioning, as well as automated shades in the windows, to help minimize your energy use. Shades can drop in the windows on the sunny south side of the house in the summer to keep the solar energy from heating the house and stressing the air conditioning. Lights can be automated so that they’re turned off in rooms without occupants. Rather than cluttering the walls with thermostats, a single thermostat controller can be mounted in a closet, and small, inconspicuous temperature sensors can be mounted in different parts of the house to help control a multi-zone HVAC system. Energy use can be closely watched through Crestron’s Energy Monitoring interface so that you’re aware of where you’re wasting energy and can adjust your habits accordingly.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 29 Feb 2012 17:26:00 GMT

Smart Grid in Your Home

Smartenit plug-in device delivers a home’s energy info to ZigBee or Insteon home area networks.

December 20, 2011 by Steven Castle

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Say you want to manage the electricity usage in your home to save energy and money. Should you wait for your local utility to roll out “smart grid” programs that might allow you to do that—or do you invest in a potentially expensive energy management/home control system?

Affordable alternatives are becoming available. Smartenit, formerly known as SimpleHomeNet, has introduced a ZBPCM device that can take the energy usage info from an electrical meter and populate it to a wireless ZigBee-based or Insteon home area network. The ZBPCM plugs into an electrical outlet and receives a wireless signal from a Blue Line Innovations’ low-cost PowerCost Monitor sensor, which attaches to the meter to read the energy usage. The ZBPCM then passes that signal on to a ZigBee-based radio frequency (RF) mesh network or Insteon’s dual RF/powerline network.

The companies call getting real time energy information from an electric meter into a home control network “the missing piece of the energy management puzzle.” Other, typically more expensive options include energy monitoring systems that attach to a home’s circuit panel to read total or circuit-based energy usage.

“Having energy consumption information available is only the first part of the equation. A more important aspect is to have that information automatically generate actions for more impact to consumers, their bottom line and the environment,” says Al Choperena, president of Smartenit.

With energy info on their networks, consumers can customize parameters to allow for automated responses that will save energy. Smartenit also manufactures ZigBee plugs and load controllers that report energy usage to provide deeper layers of energy management capability.

This data from the meter or smart plugs is then displayed over dashboards for the customer’s viewing. Armed with all this information, consumers can then set very specific parameters as to when energy adjustments are to be automatically executed, truly smartening their environment. They can track, monitor and control their usage from devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers.

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Posted by chantal Tue, 07 Feb 2012 17:33:00 GMT

SDGE Unveils Energy Innovation Center in San Diego

Audio Impact, Inc. was proud to partner up with SDG&E in the design and installation of the Green Smart Home in their new Energy Innovation Center.

Energy resource center will help customers find the most cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions for their home or business

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SAN DIEGO, Jan. 18, 2012 – /PRNewswire/ – Today, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) introduced its new Energy Innovation Center (the Center), a showcase facility where residential and business customers can learn about energy efficiency, alternative fuel transportation, Smart Grid, and clean generation.

The Energy Innovation Center offers an array of seminars on energy efficiency; classes in the food service demonstration kitchen; tours of the Smart Home full of energy-saving technology; information in the resource library, and guided tours of the water-wise walkway which showcases drought tolerant plants that save water and energy.

“The Energy Innovation Center will be a valuable resource for the community,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SDG&E. “We are committed to helping southern California reach a more sustainable energy future and the Center will provide businesses and residential customers with the tools and resources they need to make smart energy decisions to be more energy efficient, save money, and help the environment.”

In December 2010, SDG&E began construction on an existing 27,000-square-foot building and focused on designing and constructing a facility that is designed to meet U.S. Green Building Council’s Platinum LEED certificate, the highest level of certification for energy-efficient buildings. In order to meet the LEED platinum certification, SDG&E was required to incorporate the latest sustainable design elements in the Center’s design. Some of the sustainable elements of the Center include:

85 percent of the original building’s materials were reused or recycled. The roof will have a rain water collection unit that stores water used for the Center’s irrigation system. The state-of-the-art Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) system has sensors that shut off the A/C when the windows are open. The solar panels heat the Center’s water and help offset the building’s energy use by 34 percent. Most of the items seen in the Center are made from recycled materials, including the carpet which is made from recycled tires. The Center showcases different examples of highly efficient lighting, HVAC units and leading technologies to demonstrate the choices available for businesses and design professionals to incorporate into their buildings. Many of the program offerings and design features are the result of a collaborative approach with community-based organizations, local businesses and other key stakeholders and technology sponsors.

Key features that customers can experience at the Center include:

Smart Home experience tours;

Sustainability tours;

Interactive kiosks, displays and resource library;

Solar Trees® in parking areas that provide both shade for your car and power for the region;

Water-wise walkway with drought-tolerant landscape demonstrations;

Produce Demonstration Garden;

Food Service Demonstration Kitchen.

A key component of the Center is the full commercial Food Service Demonstration Kitchen that boosts numerous energy efficient appliances that introduce new features to the food service world that saves energy and saves money for chefs, restaurant owners and facility managers with food service kitchens. At the Energy Innovation Center, chefs will have the opportunity to utilize the demonstration kitchen to test their recipes on energy efficient equipment to ensure that the updated appliances work well with their dishes.

“The San Diego County Chapter of the California Restaurant Association commends San Diego Gas & Electric on the opening of their new Energy Innovation Center,” Chris Duggan, director of local government affairs for the California Restaurant Association. “This state-of-the-art facility will provide our industry professionals the opportunity to experience cutting-edge technologies and utilize educational resources that will increase energy efficiency and environmental leadership.

Click here to view the full article

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Posted by chantal Mon, 23 Jan 2012 22:32:00 GMT

Audio Impact Installation of the week: Outside and Wine Room Music System

Audio Impact, specializing in Home Theaters and Smart Homes in San Diego, recently finished an outdoor music system with Sonos and outdoor rock speakers. The system has the Sonos Play3 and Play5 units, along with the wireless CR-200 remote control. This Sonos system allows music, from Pandora, to be played in a wine cave, along with the backyard pool area. The rest of the home has a Control4 Home Automation System with HC-300’s and SR-250 remotes.

All the equipment is centralized and wired inside Middle Atlantic racks.

Check out the movie to enjoy another easy-to-use, fun system from Audio Impact!

Posted by chantal Fri, 06 Jan 2012 18:04:00 GMT

An iPod Thermostat to Change the World?

Attractive and easy-to-use Nest thermostat is getting some advance buzz.

October 27, 2011 | by Steven Castle

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Can cool looks and ease of use help us save energy in our homes?

If the web buzz generated this week by the Nest thermostat—which isn’t even available yet—is any indication, the answer is yes.

Nest has a lot going for it. First off, it’s very cool looking, with a pleasing round shape to replace those bulky thermostat boxes, an easy-to-read digital readout and even a little leaf symbol that appears when you’re being good about your energy use.

But perhaps the biggest things Nest has going for it is its Apple pedigree and ease of use. Nest Labs cofounder and CEO Tony Fadell is an ex-Apple executive dedicated to making a thermostat that’s simple to use and program.

Like an iPod, Nest basically has one button, or ring. You rotate the outer ring to adjust the temperature. The display turns blue when cooling and red when heating. Push down to open the menu.

Many people have programmable thermostats that allow programming temperature set points at various times of the day, but few actually program them. Nest says its thermostat can learn your heating and cooling patterns and suggest ways for you to be more energy-efficient. Oh, and if you want, it can be manually programmed for seven days with 20 set points per day.

Nest says the thermostat learns your personal schedule in a week and starts automatically turning down heating or cooling when you’re away to save energy.

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Posted by chantal Fri, 18 Nov 2011 17:21:00 GMT

Make a home smarter with automation systems

October 07, 2011

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Who wouldn’t like an extra set of hands around the house? Or some help with basic, everyday activities such as keeping your home comfortable? And if that extra help could also make your home more energy efficient, reducing your utility bills, wouldn’t that be an added bonus?

Home automation, once considered a luxury, is doing those tasks for more homeowners than ever before, and in ways that may surprise you. Many homeowners recognize the importance of saving energy, something that benefits the environment and their budgets. Three key areas of home automation that influence energy savings are window coverings, thermostats and lighting.

Heating and cooling accounts for the largest portion of a house’s overall energy use. Artificial lighting also contributes to home energy bills. Automating these areas of the home that consume the most energy allows users to improve energy efficiency.

Window coverings

You may think of your window treatments as more of a design statement, but window coverings, from blinds to shades, can help control the flow of sunlight into your home. In summer, drawing the blinds can help keep the interior of your home cooler. Opening window coverings when it’s cold outside in the winter can allow more warming sunlight to enter your home.

By automating your window coverings, you can better control the amount of light, and heat, entering your home, even when you’re not there. You can program an automation system to close window coverings after everyone has left the house for the day to help keep things cooler in the summer.

Or, in the winter, when many of us leave the house before the sun is up, an automation system can open window coverings to allow sunlight and warmth into the home after the sun rises.


Turning your thermostat back between 10 to 15 percent for eight hours a day can save you as much as 10 percent on your heating and cooling bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, Programmable thermostats allow you to automate temperature changes in your home.

In summer months, you can set the thermostat to allow the temperature in your home to rise higher so the air conditioning runs less when no one is there. The same technique can help reduce heating bills in the winter. By setting a programmable thermostat to change temperatures when needed, you can achieve more precise control over the temperature in your home without the risk of forgetting to set the thermostat back every time you leave the house.


Artificial light is another major energy user in households. Reducing electricity usage can be as simple as turning off lights you leave a room.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 09 Nov 2011 17:16:00 GMT

A Look Ahead at New Homes of 2015

By Erika Riggs, Zillow October 11, 2011

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If you had asked someone in the 1960s what the home of 2015 would look like, chances are they imagined something akin to The Jetsons’ home complete with Rosie the Robot and other space-age appliances that dressed and fed the family.

But, rather than space-age technology, the biggest thing that is expected to change in future single-family homes is the size.

“Homes will get smaller,” says Stephen Melman, Director of Economic Services at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Washington D.C. “We asked builders, ‘what do you anticipate the new home size would be by 2015?’ ”

According to the results of the study, surveyed home builders expect new single-family homes to check in at an average of 2,150 square feet. Current single family homes measure around 2,400 square feet, which is already a decrease from the peak home size in 2007 of 2,521.

While the decrease in home size has a lot to do with the recession, many believe that the real estate changes will stick around even after the economy and home values get back on solid ground.

“Although affordability is driving these decisions, smaller homes are a positive for builders,” said Melman. “It allows for more creative design, more amenities, better flow. It’s an opportunity to deliver a better home.”

Other things that make up the home of 2015? No more living room. According to the survey, 52 percent of builders expect the living room to merge with other spaces and 30 percent believe that it will vanish completely to save on square footage. Instead, expect to see great rooms — a space that combines the family and living room and flows into the kitchen.

Expect to see more:
- spacious laundry rooms
- master suite walk-in closets
- porches
- eat-in kitchens
- two-car garages
- ceiling fans

Expect to see less:
- mudrooms
- formal dining rooms
- four bedrooms or more
- media or hobby rooms
- skylights

Many of these changes reflect a desire for builders and consumers going green. Smaller space means more efficient heating and cooling. Ceiling fans distribute heat evenly while skylights, on the other hand, release heat.

However, as builders look to go green, they’ll be installing energy-efficient windows and compact fluorescent and LED lighting, as well as water-efficient appliances and plumbing.

Additionally, many new homes will have the baby boomer population in mind with walk-in showers, ground-floor master bedrooms and grab bars.

“A bigger share of the new homes will be purchased by people 55 or 65 and older,” said Melman. “They’re more likely to have more cash for a down payment, but they’re empty nesters, so they don’t need five bedrooms.”

Home digital control panels can help manage security and energy consumption.

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Posted by chantal Fri, 04 Nov 2011 16:36:00 GMT