A clever little home

Image courtesy Condon Scott Architects, Photography Simon Larkin.

Contrary to many people’s experience, Will Croxford and his wife have found that smart tech has made their house simpler and cheaper to run. He explains the features they use.

You might have seen our tiny house on the cover of the latest issue of Sanctuary (ReNew’s sister magazine on sustainable design). After years of research and planning, we built and then moved in on 1 August 2017. Our house has a footprint of only 30 m2, but it feels well designed and spacious. It is built using SIPs (structural insulated panels) for the floor, walls and roof, and is close to Passive House standard. We also incorporated smart technology which helps reduce our energy bills, light up the house and keep us warm in winter. Contrary to many people’s experience with smart house tech, our life is simpler because of it. This is how we do it.

Aiming for ‘best in class’
One way to get a ‘smart home’ is to purchase a single integrated system. Such systems are usually installed by a professional and are often simple to use and robust. Another way, which is what we opted for, is to use a DIY approach with separate systems and multiple apps. In a DIY system, things aren’t always simple and there may be limited integration between apps.

Even though it’s not as a simple, the DIY approach suited us. I’m a tech person who loves tweaking settings and working with programs that I feel are the best. I like to think of this as a ‘best in class’ approach. For example, our smart lighting is the Philips Hue system because we think it’s the best in class. Obviously some will disagree; maybe ‘best in class’ is better described as ‘best for us’.

A downside with ‘best in class’ is that the many and varied systems used may be proprietary and hard to integrate together. But there are always ways around these problems.

Read the full article in ReNew 144.

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