My husband and I are just completing the construction of our house in the Adelaide Hills. The house is designed to be completely sustainable with a 1.9kW photovoltaic system, solar hot water, rainwater catchment and biolytix waste water treatment. The house incorporates passive thermal rammed earth components and window orientation to gain winter sun and block summer sun. I'm a data and systems analyst so I love the thought of incorporating home automation into the setup and it giving me feedback on how the house is performing and responding automatically to the feedback.
During construction I wired the house with Cat5e and RG6 and terminated to a hub. In all, some 1.6km of Cat5e terminating to 61 data points in my hub and 350m of RG6 terminating to 16 points. All rooms in the house have wallplates which will be equipped with combinations of temperature sensors, motion sensors and light sensors, as well as PoE (have recently bought the Freetronics PoE to start with), standard computer points, tv and security camera sockets. It's bare bones at the moment. All lights in our house are CFL's, and these are controlled with PLC-Bus micro modules which have just been installed and programmed.
While I was wiring I put through a load of 12AWG speaker wire (and more cat5e to wallplates for stereo control) so that I can implement a whole home audio system.
Home Automation Plans
I will be creating the custom wallplates with sensors and linking these to the Arduino to give feedback on the houses' performance. I've wired our louvre windows with Cat5e so that these can be automatically controlled at a later date. All overhead fans are RF based so that I can also control these. Motion sensors will trigger lights to turn on during the night. I've prototyped the individual components so far, which have worked okay, but have yet to put it all together. The plan is to have temperature sensors installed inside and outside the house so that the system can determine whether windows should be open or closed. Our weather station will also be linked to the system to give feedback. Unfortunately where we live getting internet access is not easy, I'm hoping our new house will give wireless line of sight to one of the towers but have yet to find this out.... a small hurdle but once this is setup then Pachube would be the next logical step.
More to come...