In every room there's a fire detector which can detect smoke or high temperature. If there's a fire, the alarm sounds for a few minutes upstairs, and the exit routes are lit up. If we're not at home, then we get automatically notified by phone or email - which also lets us know in which room the alarm was triggered.
This family house enjoys fully customised home automation designed to make life in the home easier.
About the Project
Overlooking the rooftops of the small market town Rohrbach and the surrounding countryside the Wiesner family built their home. Owner Mr. Wiesner took an active part in planning and tweaking the installation, so that their Miniserver is like a butler - always at hand, but never to be seen. The functions were tailored to fit the exact requirements of this young family, whilst keeping the system interaction truly simple.
Control Everything That's Inside
Panic Light as a Deterrent
In our bedroom we've set up a panic light function. If you hold down the lightswitch, the panic light function is activated: the outside lights flash and the corridor light turns on. After three minutes they all turn off again. If there really is an unwanted visitor, they'd definitely be frightened off by the sudden bright lights. The function is active between 9pm and sunrise.
Shading - Tailored to our Needs
We control our blinds with a central switch on each floor. There's also a switch in the kitchen area which sets the blinds to a daytime mode which offers extra privacy by specially adjusting the angle of the blades. The rest of the switches have a double-click function which stops the blinds moving, and a triple-click function which restarts them. We also often take advantage of the ability to set our blinds from a computer with the Web Interface.
Blind Protection Against the Elements
We've given our blinds a child / winter protection feature. Flicking a switch locks the blinds. If there's snow on the windowsill, or even stuck to the blinds, then our kids cannot move the blinds. Sensors on the roof and the weather service provide information on wind speed and amount of snow. If the wind gets too strong, then the blinds are raised to protect them from damage. If there's too much snow (as predicted by the Loxone Weather Service), then the blind-lock is automatically triggered.
Automatic Shading on Holiday
When we're away, our blinds move fully automatically. Using information from the indoor and outdoor temperature sensors, as well as the weather forecast, the Miniserver controls the blinds. If it's too hot, the whole house is shaded to keep it cool inside. If it's cold outside, the blinds adjust to let the sun in and warm the house.
Clear Drains all Year Round - Thanks to the Heated Drain
We have a flat roof with a drain in the middle. This is protected against freezing over with a heater than can be swtiched on and off - allowing the water to flow all year round. For us, the heating is linked to the Loxone weather service and temperature sensors. This means we can't forget about the easily neglected heating switch (which we can use manually to control the heating if necessary). The heating is generally only active from October to April, but it only comes on if it's really needed - when there's rain / snow detected during a cold spell. This also stops the drain being damaged by repeated freezing and thawing.
We've got lots of battery-powered fire detectors on the ceilings around the house. To check these all manually would be tedious, so if the batteries are nearing the end of their lives, then a light comes on by our fireplace. Using the user interface, we can then easily check which detector needs new batteries. When we're on holiday, then this function is deactivated - simply so my mother-in-law, who looks after the plants, doesn't get a shock when a light randomly comes on.
Customized Alarm System
The alarm system is set when we go on holiday, or after darkness falls. When triggered, the corridor and outside lights in the whole house start to blink, and an alarm sounds. We're notified about the alarm with an email. If the alarm is armed, but the landing light is on, then it will automatically disarm for 30 minutes - easily long enough to get a glass of water without setting it all off.
We've worked on optimising control of our lights. We wanted all the normal functions for our lights, as well as a few useful "features".
Between 9pm and 3am, if the motion detectors upstairs detect movement, then a light comes on downstairs. This means that if we're still in the living room, then we'll notice if the kids have left their bedroom. If all the lights downstairs are off - this means we've gone to bed, so the function is deactivated.
If We Forget - Automatic Lights
The attic, cellar, garage and larder are all rooms which we might use just once a day, but rooms where it's very easy to forget to turn the lights off. For this reason, we've set the Miniserver to turn off these lights automatically if they've been on for 12 hours.
Our hall light is generally controlled with a motion detector, but this is done depending on the time of day and the weather - so only when it's really needed. If we need more light (than the weather and time of day would predict), e.g. when cleaning the hall, then we can just control it manually with a switch which turns on the light for 30 minutes.
Using a switch in the entrance we can put the house in a sort of hibernation mode. All lights are turned off, and electronic devices such as the stove have their power cut. It's very practical and means we can leave the house without having to spend ages going round to check that everything is off.
We're Coming Home
When we're coming home, and open the garage door with the remote control, the garage light is switched on together with the path lights to the door of the house. Obviously this only happens when it's dark, so is controlled in conjunction with a light meter.
For All Techies
- 1x Miniserver
- 12x Extensions
- 1x Outdoor tempature sensor
- 1x Wind sensor
- 1x Rain sensor
- 1x Indor temperature sensor
- 14x Fire Detectors