Residents have long benefited from traditional electrical home installations. Various devices making our lives easier, along with electric lighting, are generally taken for granted. Still, the traditional electrical installation with its various sockets, switches and lights is on its way out. The last two decades have seen many new technologies for electrical installations find their way into our homes in order to deal with the limitations of the traditional installation.
Electricity inside the home was not always that easy. Not that long ago it was considered normal to use candles for lighting and manually spin the wheel to get the laundry barrel moving. Historically, electricity is a relatively young technology. Most people only had electricity inside their homes in the first half of the twentieth century. Interior spaces featured one light and one switch with a socket underneath. This increased as the number of electrical appliances grew, especially in the kitchen. In addition, new technologies such as dimming, time switches and motion sensors became widespread. Nevertheless, the electrical installation’s basic structure remained the same, and this has resulted in important disadvantages. Changeability or flexibility is non-existent. There is no communication between the traditional electrical installation and other subsystems inside the home (e.g. heating, door communications, alarm system, audio, air-conditioning). There are better ways of doing things electrically.
Integration and flexibility
Newer technologies lift the electrical installation to greater heights. Because of their integration possibilities, they are capable of letting multiple subsystems in the home communicate with each other. This has opened up numerous possibilities that increase the residents’ comfort level, offering more user-friendliness, better communications possibilities, greater safety and lower energy consumption. Thanks to the flexibility of such systems, it is usually easy to make changes. The functions of switches and buttons can be changed through software. The installation can be adjusted to meet the residents’ changing needs at any time. To give you an idea of the many possibilities, check out the ‘Checklist—Design Guide for Integrated Home Systems’.
Your car and your home, what is the difference?
You cannot live in your car, nor can you go from point A to point B with your home. Chances are that you have more integrated technology in your car than in your home. To cite just a few examples, consider the windscreen wipers that turn on automatically as soon as it starts raining, or the headlights that switch on automatically when it gets dark. Finally yet importantly, the overhead light that switches on when you turn off the engine and turns itself off when you get out the car and lock the door. If you have a late model car, it is almost certain you have an on-board computer that lets you consult all types of information (e.g. current and average consumption, km to drive until the next gas stop). You probably cannot do without cruise control, electrical windows, automatic doors, GPS, audio, climate control, and various other creature comforts. All are widely available because they make life inside your car far more easy.
Strangely, our way of thinking is far more conservative when it concerns the home. Some sockets and lights will still do in most cases. We have already welcomed digital TV inside our homes: we did not have a choice, because soon no TV stations will broadcast in analogue. We use our smartphones and their many awesome apps on a daily basis. However, using a remote or an app to operate the lights in our living room from the couch is too much.
What is the difference between your home and your car? The time has come to lift the electrical installation of your new build or the renovation of your old home to a higher, more contemporary level. Talk about it with your installer.