New concrete home


I've already benefitted alot from this site and I feel like I have a general "lay of the land," but now I need to start making real decisions about what direction I want to go and I have questions! We are building a new house, 2 stories plus finished walk-out basement, and most of the exterior walls are concrete up to the roof. The house is also long and narrow - kind of a shoebox with several bumpouts to make it interesting.

What I want is lighting control that I can tweak myself, preferably across my LAN. I would also like distributed audio to a couple zones, controlled across the LAN (stored audio, Internet radio, some whole-house announcements) via laptops or perhaps tablets down the road. A couple other things it would be nice to do are to monitor and control our climate-controlled space where we will be growing orchids (tracking temp and humidity levels, controlling mister and/or humidifier, lights, etc.) and to put more sophisticated control on our ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) so that it doesn't run when the windows are open. We'd also like to tie in a security system although my knowledge here lags behind other topics.

One oddity is that we don't have any TV. I figured we'd run some coax to a few spots as a nod to a possible future owner, but we haven't had a TV since we were married and have seen no reason to get one since then. (We watch DVDs on the PC on occasion.) I do hope to install several tubes to allow me to fish wire later on after the walls are closed up although it will be hard to reach the far end of the house on the second floor. One nice thing is that we have 2-ft. deep floor trusses between floors so there should be plenty of room to stick pipes in there.

Lastly, our house is on top of a hill in a suburban/rural area with some high-tension lines about 250 yards away. Because of our distance from the road, we get the pleasure of having our own ground-mounted transformer (and the additional cost to acquire electrical service).

My first question, then, is whether the concrete walls, elevated location, proximity of the power lines, or any of the other circumstances would argue for or against RF options? Thanks again for lots of great information and collected wisdom!

I would suggest buying the UPB starter kit and give it a try. UPB can be programed via the LAN.

For your climate-controlled space you could use a one-wire solution and couple that with a package like MCSTemps you would have an automation front end to the entire package from temps to humidity to window control assuming you have an automated way of opening these. I would recommend spending some time on the HomeSeer forum and specifically the MCS forum for more information. HomeSeer can interface with UPB, Insteon, Z-Wave (RF), as well as X10 and others as well as interfaces to the hardware needed for your climate-controlled space and several different security systems.