A new Dallas-area home now stands as a model for sustainable housing that puts comfort and technology at the center of the home experience. Thanks to a 48-panel rooftop solar array, the owners minimize their electric bill and will always have uninterrupted power for their ELAN® g! Entertainment and Control System that integrates 10 TVs, 14 audio zones, three surround sound systems, climate controls, 34 motorized Lutron window shades, a security system with eight surveillance cameras, the pool/spa equipment and irrigation system.
In addition to its role in the sustainability of the home, the owners chose the ELAN g! system to help eliminate as much wall clutter as possible including thermostats, security panels and pool control panels. The g! system makes this possible by allowing owners to use their own smartphones, tablets, computers, a few discreet in-wall touchpanels and ELAN HR2 remotes to control every core home system from lighting to audio/visual (AV) to irrigation.
Powering all of this is a 10.56kW rooftop solar array comprised of 48 Sanyo solar panels that produces a total of 45-60kWh every day. The system can provide enough power for the entire home, but is also tied into the electrical grid so there is never a power shortage during peak usage, and so the owners can sell their excess electricity back to the utility company during low usage times. This way, the system eventually pays for itself in full.
According to Eco High Fidelity’s Tommy Kissell, many factors play into the energy efficiency of the home, including the specially-angled roof designed to provide ideal placement for the solar panels, premium insulation, two 2,500-gallon rainwater collection barrels for irrigation, tank-less hot water and intelligently-located windows with automated motorized window shades that either let in or block out light depending on the climate inside the home and time of day.
“Of course one of the keys is the ELAN g! system itself,” Kissell said, “In addition to ELAN’s efficient Class D switching amplifiers that eliminate extra components, g! allows for all of the system components to be centrally located, which reduces the amount of wiring and ensures that every component is connected in the most efficient way possible. With automation features such as pre-scheduled lighting and heating and event-based actions such as window shades that raise and lower at dawn and dusk, the entire house operates at optimal efficiency.
“ELAN g! gives homeowners an effortless, concrete way to reduce electricity usage while improving their standard of living. The AV capabilities are second to none, and the whole system is so easy to adjust that the homeowner can make most changes on the fly without even calling us. And to protect the equipment rack and simplify maintenance we used a Furman BlueBolt UPS that allows us to reset the whole system remotely, which can save us an expensive house call when all that’s required is a reset.”
The homeowners felt it was important to create an incredible AV experience throughout the entire home, and chose ELAN g! because they felt it merged energy efficiency with superior quality audio and video distribution. The house also has an enterprise-grade Pakedge network that provides high speed Wi-Fi in every room.
“Homeowners looking to lessen their environmental impact want to do so without sacrificing their standard of living,” Kissell continued. “So as an integrator I need to present a compelling solution that maintains or improves living conditions while reducing energy usage, and that solution is the ELAN g! system.”
According to Kissell, the home’s designer and builder, Artex Development, was integral in the success of this project because the company embraces the importance of technology in today’s new homes. “A lot of builders today put the electronics integrator last and take a reactionary approach, but Artex was all over the AV and control aspect from day one. They made us a priority and kept us involved throughout the entire planning and building process, and this approach helped deliver the perfect system for the homeowner.”
Individual "apps" for each subsystem allow the user to control security, climate, lighting, media, irrigation, pool/spa, messaging, video and photos with the flick of a finger. Access is fast and secure through any ELAN home interface or globally with mobile Internet-enabled devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Netbooks and PC Tablets. Since the intuitive interface empowers users with personalized scheduling and detailed history views, high consumption subsystems like lighting and climate can be closely monitored and managed for a greener lifestyle —and substantial energy savings.