Modeling Smart Homes

March/April 2008
A version of this article appears in the March/April 2008 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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March 09, 2008
When Solaris Home Systems was founded in Chicago in 2003, our main focus was home automation systems—lighting, HVAC, security, entertainment, and so on. We quickly realized that home automation systems could do more than just turn things on and off; the systems could also enable a house to become “smart” about its energy use. A home automation system can lower south-facing blinds in the summer when the house is vacant, saving cooling energy; automatically turn off vents, fans, or lights a couple of minutes after a room becomes vacant, saving electrical energy; monitor water usage and send an alert to a homeowner’s computer if it senses a sharp increase, which may be caused by a leaky pipe or toilet; and increase a family’s overall awareness of energy use in their home.

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