Why smart house is still not smart enough? But, it will ever be?
I have a smart home, and five years after, I can tell you that I am not proud of it. Since then, technology has developed exponentially. My projects with smart houses taught me that we always have the opportunity to grow and to do things better. Especially, with technology development and the second most important thing that I have learned is that we establish our life habits in the new house. There, we have a real touch with our project, with our home and the living is not only in the drawings. Now, I would do so many things differently if I would do it once more. But, to be honest. Isn’t it like this in everyday living and every domain of our lives?
The smart house should enable to integrate all technical system into one application and provide end-user the simple path to access needed information instantly. The technological system includes light system, shades, HVAC, alarm, surveillance, sound, and entertainment system, smart appliances etc. If we add our willing to be energy independent, that is also one crucial field in developing the whole smart metering process in our house. The next logical step is may be the electric vehicle. For sure we would also like to charge it during the production of renewables. But then, we have also this expansive battery in our car. Why don’t we use it as our energy storage system?
Additionally, what about sustainable living? An example, using rainwater as water for the savage system, using home grown and cooked food, using more efficient and clean mobility services, living in efficiently organized community? Additionally, we would also need to use sustainable building materials; architecture of the house should integrate environmental benefits. The next step, what about recycling waste material, one day even our house furniture, appliances, building materials? What about our behaviors, our way of living, our connection with society, nature? And it keeps going.
Every domain of our life and living can be involved in our smart house.
Are we there yet?
Nope. But, the truth is that we will never succeed in the final version of the smart house. The smart house is the process, journey. It is not the destination. And when the process is finished, the project is over.
Look for example how we became a global village. Before a few decades, the internet was just available to rich people. The content was also lacking. Now, we are all connected. Internet is so spread and shared.
For now, we can talk about different categories of smart house system. On the market, we have various communication proposals. Wired and wireless, new or refurbished installation, personalized or plug and play solutions, etc. In Croatian terms, for the average new smart house, integrating the light system, blinds, and shades, HVAC system and surveillance system of 150 m2 with electrical installation, devices and software you would need to spend about 15.000,00 euros. The price increases with the increase of smart device, preferences number of interfaces in the house, additional requirements and more sophisticated producer of the automation system.
Nowadays smart automation system and smart applications offer different range of products, with different prices. However, when we use them, we have an enormous number of applications and communication gateways. The market responds to all other types of getaways, so basically there is no limitation. The only restriction is that smart house devices should communicate by wire to have a more reliable and efficient system. On the market, there is still no reliable conventional wireless solutions.
Does this smart house offer me any saving and when can I count on returning my investment?
The answer is simple. Never. It is a matter of comfort and prestige. The cost-benefit analysis based on energy saving with the smart house is still out of the expectations. But, isn’t this the same with our vehicles, smart devices, clothes, etc.?
If I had to decide once more if I would have my smart house or not, the answer would be absolute yes! We live in the IT era and technology has so much developed, that for me my comfort that my house provides me is an absolute must! Yes, it is more expensive than just conventional electrical installations, but with the proper drawings, the smart house can be well optimized and provide more additional benefits to the quality and flexibility of living.
Petra Mesarić, PhD