Automated Home 2.0

Jacob Sugden
1st September 2023 in Case Studies

Loxone has been installed in one of the most knowledgeable automation enthusiast’s house. We take this as a great sign and compliment that Loxone was the solution that they went for. Mark, one of the homeowners, has been running a home automation website for over 20 years and obviously is therefore very knowledgeable in the industry. In his previous home he had lots of island solutions and knew that for their new build he wanted a fully integrated home automation ecosystem and so therefore naturally turned to the most open and large automation ecosystem in the industry… Loxone.

Interview with the Loxone Partner

Scott McMurray and his team from Epitome Living were the Loxone installers for this remarkable home. We caught up with Scott to find out more about their work on ‘Automated Home 2.0’

What has the journey been for the homeowner?
I met Mark and Helen back in 2017 at the first ever show we did – “The Luxury Home Show” in Portglenone, Co Antrim. Mark was already aware of Loxone and interested in using this for his new build. After some initial discussions we soon realised we’d be a good fit for the scale of the project he was working on, so the rest is history!
How has this project differed (if at all) from a typical Epitome Living project?
This was a different one as the client had a lot of experience with other alternative solutions in the DIY space and was very much aware that these were to be avoided for the new build. This helps massively – often we find we’re having to explain why the latest wireless gadget isn’t the best choice for a new building project. Thankfully with Mark, the trust was there from the start to advise what would work best.
Why did it make sense to go for Loxone in this project?
A variety of technologies and systems were needed to make this brief a reality. In some ways, it’s very complex. However, from a user’s perspective, it’s easy – the other members of the house who have less interest in technology are not overwhelmed with apps, controls and confusing systems. Through simple switches and sensors, most of the day to day operation is automated away.
What is your favourite feature on this project?
There’s no one technical element for me, but rather the attention to detail from everyone involved throughout the project. The clients, third party trades and our team working the details together and making sure the outcome is as perfect as possible.
It was clear from the outset that no other control system would do for the scope of this project. Having everything integrated together was key, and no third party apps were to be used.

With Loxone’s ever improving energy features, it was clear that this was a solution for the future, not just to tick a box for “energy efficiency” in the short term.

Scott McMurray

Director, Epitome Living Ltd

Interview with the Homeowners

Mark, a true automation enthusiast, and his wife Helen had already embarked on a self-build before. Mark has been writing and curating industry news and first-hand accounts about smart home solutions and electric vehicles for more than 25 years on his aptly named website Automated Home. As the couple planned their 2nd self-build, they had a wealth of experience to draw upon, and also knew more precisely what they did and didn’t want in their so-called Automated Home 2.0. We posed some questions to Mark to find out more about their journey…

So there was an Automated Home 1.0 then?
We completed our first self-build in the late 90s and I spent the next 2 decades trying out a multitude of different smart home systems.
Why was it important then to go for an ecosystem in your next self-build?
Our previous experience taught us a couple of things. First of all, we could see the advantages of a home automation system and knew we wanted to go further in the new house. Secondly, we had also learnt the importance of integration and we were determined that everything in the Automated Home would work together seamlessly.
Why was home automation an important consideration for you when planning your new home?
We wanted a professional, reliable and unobtrusive system. Something that has much more genuine automation built-in, rather than just being a remote control. The Loxone Miniserver offered the Building Management System we were looking for, providing remote access via the internet, but not relying on it while we’re home.
How was the process of working with a professional installer?
Our Loxone Partners, Epitome Living (EL), had a pivotal role in the new Automated Home. It was imperative that we got a real Loxone specialist on-board for our project, but EL turned out to be so much more than that. They helped us with many aspects of the house including lighting design, audio setups, advice on motorised blinds as well as recommending things like the electric locking mechanism for all our external doors. In addition, EL liaised with our other suppliers, ensuring we were buying items that were compatible and could be easily integrated into our Loxone system. It’s such a pleasure to work with someone who is passionate and knowledgeable in their field.
Can you share a bit more about what features you have in your home as part of your Loxone installation?
We have a pretty comprehensive system, automating many areas including;

– Lighting 💡
– Windows & Shading 🪟
– Access & Security 🔒
– Heating & Ventilation 🌡️
– Music 🎵

One of the things people usually learn quickly when setting up a modern smart home is that it’s really no fun at all having to get your phone out every five minutes to control stuff. This is where true automation comes into play, with the house controlling lights, blinds, heating, access, music etc all automatically based on things like your movements and the time of day. We certainly didn’t do away with wall switches though, and really like the Loxone scheme that meant each switch used an identical setup for music, lights, blinds etc, making it much easier to remember. We love the central on-wall master panel for the system in the kitchen too which gives us control of every sub-system too when required.

We’ve used lots of Loxone light fittings and we especially love the LED Pendulum Slim and the very versatile Ceiling Light Tree too. We chose Loxone’s excellent presence sensors and other sensors monitor the status of all our external doors, gates, garage doors and windows. All these devices, along with a very comprehensive data network and PoE camera system, forms the security system. Driving a car that uses your smartphone as the key is great and it led us to add motorised locks to the house to remove the need to carry a key for it too.

Loxone’s dedicated Weather Station allows the system to accurately detect local wind and rain conditions. Using this device the system will close our roof windows automatically in wet and or windy conditions too. The Weather Station also plays a part in the heating strategy for the house, acting like a weather compensator.

We’ve got a couple of outside sockets controlled by Loxone too, allowing us to use an outside LED patio lamp in the summer or Christmas Tree lighting in winter.

Summing up the project

Epitome Living has delivered a Loxone system which is incredibly comprehensive, completely integrated and yet simple to use. All of which makes living in the Automated Home 2.0 such a pleasure.
Mark McCall

Homeowner, Automated Home 2.0

From the Loxone team, we’re delighted to know that Mark and Helen are very happy with the elements that Loxone controls and automates in their home, providing convenience without compromise in their daily lives. Epitome Living has also done us proud by providing an excellent level of customer service throughout the process.
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