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Home automation in a new house construction project

More and more, a construction project that is taking shape leads to new questions being asked before the signing. This is particularly the case for the question of building connectivity. Building a house is often the project of a lifetime, so it’s best to think about it from the start.
While the RT 2012 provides some initial elements on network connectivity within the new house. Nothing clearly addresses the needs in terms of home automation or the connected house. And for good reason, the possibilities are so numerous that it is difficult to impose rules. Many of you have contacted me to know how to consider home automation in a construction project and which choice to make whatever the house model. I am going to propose here, a list of solutions, not exhaustive of course, because the solutions are multiple.

But here are the most common ones which can give you an idea of orientation and reflection for your project. As I said, there are many possibilities. They often depend on the budget. Home automation remains a plus, but is not vital, moreover at the time of a construction, there are often other items of the house to prioritize. It is therefore a question of anticipating the need. This is much easier said than done. You should try to project yourself and imagine what you would like to do or automate.

Wired home automation

If wired home automation (essentially based on KNX) is difficult to access, as it is very expensive, there is the IP version based on an IPX800 box which can also meet the need. It is often said that when you build, you have to pass a maximum of ducts even if the needs are not necessarily there at the time. And indeed, it’s true that as time goes by, you end up saying “damn, if I’d known I’d have run a cable or a sheath here for this purpose…”.

Wireless home automation

Otherwise, it must be admitted that the vast majority of individuals opt for wireless home automation, which is much more accessible and simple to set up. Today, several protocols exist and the panel is quite important to make the right choice. If I have a small preference for the Z-wave which is an excellent wireless protocol in all points, others like Zigbee or Enocean are also very good. I invite you to consult our series Home Automation for Dummies which will give you more information on wireless protocols.

The home automation technical bay

To think that deploying home automation in a connected house often requires a small dedicated technical room. If sacrificing a room for this is extreme, a computer rack may suffice. Ideally, this is where all the network cables of the house will go. Think about putting your cables in a suitable place, such as a garage or a laundry room if necessary. Because you will certainly store equipment in this bay in the long term, a server, a home automation box, a network switch… All this equipment can be noisy and dissipate a lot of heat, so think about this room being well ventilated and properly soundproofed or at least far from the living room and bedrooms.

The wifi coverage of the house

Think about it! It can sometimes be a pain to cover the whole house in wifi. Here again, try to simulate the coverage…

Easier said than done, especially on a plan. In this case, the estimate of the wifi coverage will be based on theory and manufacturers’ recommendations/information… To meet this need, more and more wifi devices similar to those found in companies are available for the home. These devices are based on mesh wifi technologies that work much more intelligently and efficiently than a wifi repeater. Where a repeater generates a second network, MESH wifi devices allow you to maintain a single wireless network, spread over multiple points and without network interruptions. This is the most efficient solution, similar to what is found in the enterprise.

It comes in the form of an access point. You need a simple network cable to extend your network, no need for a power supply as the system is powered by POE. You still need to think about pulling a cable to the right place. It is especially in this sense that you must orientate your study according to the type of equipment you wish to use and the manufacturer’s characteristics.

Video surveillance

Try to imagine your video surveillance network in order to run an Ethernet cable or at least a sheath to the cameras’ location. As a camera is a security device, it is preferable to use wired rather than wireless to record images. Moreover, by using the network and adapted cameras, you will not need to provide a power supply to the camera. This makes your electrical installation much easier! All you need to do is invest in PoE cameras. The Ethernet cable will then carry both power and data on the same cable.

The opinion of the home automation blogger

If I can give you one piece of advice, it is to try to think about your project. Imagine your needs in advance. This will allow you to make the right choices in terms of roller shutters or garage and gate automation. Keep in mind to (if possible) run as many ducts as possible in the absence of network cabling at first, in order to use them later for future purposes.

Home automation has a cost, this cost is not necessarily the priority at the time of construction, but efficient and inexpensive solutions exist with DIY home automation. I invite you to dig into this point and read our guide on how to build a low cost and high performance home automation box based on a Raspberry Pi.

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