Home automation guide – Smart features to include in new construction

Automating your home’s lighting, climate, security, entertainment and more provides convenience, energy savings, and exciting new possibilities. Integrating automation during new construction lets you embed technology seamlessly into architectural details. 

Pre-wiring and integrated control networks 

Home-run electrical wiring allows smart switches and outlets to connect directly to a central hub or controller. It enables each device to be individually addressable. Run home runs from scattered switch boxes to a central data location to link devices across the home. Structured wiring enclosures provide a termination point to connect AV sources to displays in any room. Network switches also be centralized to distribute hardwired Ethernet throughout. Determine your preferred control system – HomeKit, Alexa, Google Home, etc. – and install compatible devices or consolidate bridging hardware into a cabinet to enable cross-platform control. Hardwired options perform better than patchy wireless controls.

Lighting and electric 

Install smart switches to control lighting via the app, voice, or automated scheduling. Models like Lutron Caseta and Leviton Decora Smart provide dimming, scenes, scheduling, and integration flexibility. Select aesthetic rocker switch styles that align with your interior design instead of conspicuous smart panels. Smart plugs make lamps, fans, and other plug-in fixtures voice controllable. Options for high-wattage, outdoor-rated, surge protected, and timed smart plugs as needed. Wire large open-plan living areas for distinct lighting zones controllable through a centralized system. Include zones for general illumination, task lighting, and accent lighting to customize any activity or mood.

Temperature and window control

Network-enabled smart thermostats optimize heating and cooling for comfort and efficiency. Top models include Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell Home, Lennox Comfort, and Emerson Sensi. Select touchscreen or voice-activated options with remote access, geofencing, automation, and detailed energy reporting. Integrate smart control of motorized window shades, awnings, and screens for adjusting solar gain and airflow. Automated windows also provide lighting control, privacy, and glare reduction tailored to environmental conditions and room use. Zone systems appropriately for occupied and unoccupied areas. Include window and temperature sensors for precise climate adjustments. this artilcle on CBS News.

Multi-room audio 

Prewire for speakers to distribute music playback evenly throughout the interior and exterior living spaces. Embed speakers seamlessly into walls and ceilings with advanced rough-in boxes, Contour speakers for porch ceilings provide full-range audio outside. Control speakers through a multi-zone amplifier and stream different audio sources to different speakers. Connect the amplifier to a centralized media hub with streaming music services, stored albums, and internet radio. Options like Sonos, Heos, and Bluesound provide whole-home audio integration.

Home theater setup

To create an immersive home theater, install in-wall front, side, and rear surround speakers wired back to a central receiver. Wire for subwoofers to add a deep bass response. Use in-ceiling speakers for Atmos height channel effects or up-firing speakers that bounce sound off the ceiling. Consider acoustically transparent screen wall material to hide front speakers behind the screen. Reference commercial theater specs to position speakers optimally for your seating layout. Isolate the theater to prevent sound transfer to other areas, especially bedrooms.

Security and monitoring

Security cameras, doorbell cams, motion sensors, leak detectors, and smart locks connected to a central hub monitor activity and environmental conditions 24/7. Receive alerts of suspicious activities, lock doors, view cameras, and adjust system settings from anywhere. Conceal cameras discreetly into architectural elements. Focus cameras on vulnerable entry points while meeting legal requirements regarding surveillance signage, camera visibility, and audio recording consent. Use motion-activated exterior spotlights to deter intruders. Open/close garage doors and unlock entryways automatically as you arrive and leave.

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