Home automation: How to get a luxury to pay for itself?

5 June 2015

What is Building Automation?

Let’s define building automation: Automation refers to the capability to program and schedule actions for the devices on the network. The programming may include time-dependent commands, for example having your lights turn on or off at specific intervals each day. It can also include non-scheduled or time-dependent events, such as turning on all the lights in your home when your security system alarm is triggered, or turning on a specific light in a room when you enter it.

What kinds of things can be part of a home automation system?

In theory, anything that can be connected to a network can be automated and controlled remotely and from a central location. However in actual practice, outside of research labs and the homes of the rich and famous, home automation most commonly connects simple binary devices. This includes “on and off” devices such as lights, power outlets and electronic locks, but also devices such as security sensors which have only two states, open and closed. Where home automation becomes truly intelligent is in the online web devices that link into this network and control it.

The standard control unit is the home computer, for which the majority of the earlier home automation systems were designed and controlled. Today’s home automation systems are more likely to distribute programming and monitoring control between a dedicated device in the home, for example, the control panel of a security system, and a user-friendly app interface that can be accessed via an Internet-enabled PC, smartphone or tablet.

The main components of the standard building automation systems include:

  • Programmable thermostats.
  • Zone-based thermostats.
  • Occupation detectors and motion sensors.
  • Power timers and monitors.
  • Shutter and blind control units.

Building automation energy efficiencies:

1. Currently, energy savings and the constant strive to go green are influencing building automation trends to a large extent. This is in line with the global trend towards sustainable eco-friendly practices and the fact that green products represent energy cost savings – an important consideration given the recent spate of electricity hikes and poor supply of electricity in South Africa.

2. Today, building automation encompasses the integration of every aspect of the building from entertainment, security and under-floor heating to swimming pool pumps, lighting, irrigation, online networking and general communications systems. The key attraction of building automation is that it affords users a certain lifestyle, the core benefits of which are simplicity, convenience, security and of course energy efficiency.

3. Intelligent automation features such as built-in motion detection, automatically turn lights on when a room is occupied and can schedule lights to turn off when occupants leave the building. Automated geysers/ air-conditioning and building heating are a huge component of this efficiency, the heating/cooling devices would be turned on and off to meet demand and maintain the most energy-efficient ambient combination which is required by the user.

4. In the foreseeable future, South African utility companies will move towards smart grid technology, and the price of electricity will change during the day in response to demand. Your automated building will keep track of these changes and adjust your consumption to fit the trend. For example, it could turn your dishwasher on only when electricity is cheapest.

5. One clear advantage of home automation is the unmatched potential for energy savings and therefore cost savings. Your thermostat is already “smart” in the sense that it uses a temperature threshold to govern the home’s heating and cooling system. In most cases, thermostats can also be programmed with different target temperatures to keep energy usage at a minimum during the hours when you’re least likely to benefit from the heating and cooling.

6. Let’s discuss the benefits of remote control of your automated building. Energy costs can be even further reduced by programming “macros” into the system and sending commands remotely whenever required. For example, you could set up a “coming home” event that turns on lights and heating as you’re driving home after work, and activate it all with one tap on your smartphone. Vice versa “leaving home” event could save you from wasting energy on forgotten lights and appliances once you’ve left for the day, even enabling various security systems.

<a href="https://blog.idx.co.za/author/kyle/" target="_self">Kyle Roos</a>

Kyle Roos

Site Services Manager

Kyle specialises in industrial data communication protocols and systems. Operating in the space of design, development, integration, technical sales and support, advanced troubleshooting and training.

Show your love!

Recent Posts

Driving Productivity with LineView Training

In light of our partnership with LineView Solutions, our team has taken up the opportunity to equip themselves with insights into the LineView system and its impact on the industry. “LineView is a production line monitoring and recording system that automatically...

Exciting New Launch: Onsite ProfiDay

IDX is excited to announce the launch of our onsite ProfiDay offering. This is available to all industries and companies that utilise PROFIBUS and/or PROFINET within their industrial communications systems. What is ProfiDAY? An exclusive onsite program offering...

Introducing our Partnership with LineView Solutions

We are excited to announce our partnership with LineView Solutions, a leading UK-based company specialising in smart factory solutions for optimising production processes. LineView developed a cutting-edge software suite designed to automatically gather data from the...

Optimise PROFIBUS and PROFINET Network Performance

As a field technician handling PROFIBUS and PROFINET systems, it is crucial to recognise the common errors that can result in costly downtime. From improper network configuration to neglecting regular maintenance, these mistakes can greatly affect system performance...

Delighted Customer Shares Experience

We recently assisted a client in rectifying damage to the Anybus ABC4090 Communicator caused by incorrect power usage onsite. We arranged for the device to be sent to HMS in Sweden for repairs, and they restored it before promptly returning it to us. Here are some...

Price Decrease on PROFIBUS Connectors

PROFIBUS connectors play a crucial role in industrial automation and data exchange systems by facilitating smooth communication between devices and networks. We are pleased to announce a significant price decrease on all our PROFIBUS connectors. Thanks to recent...

PROFIBUS Standards: Functional bonding and shielding

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and earthing issues can significantly impact the performance of your network. By following these six proven recommendations, you can ensure that your network is always up and running.

PROFIBUS Standards: Terminations

What is the Volts Direct Current (VDC) required for optimal operation of a PROFIBUS DP termination circuit? Get the answers you need in our latest video on PROFIBUS Standards: Terminations. Don't miss out on this essential knowledge to boost your system's performance!

PROFIBUS Standards: Segment Cable Lengths

Finding the perfect balance between PROFIBUS cable length and network speed is crucial. While longer cable segments might seem tempting, they can lead to signal degradation and slower speeds. Conversely, too short segments might limit your layout options. Striking the...

Sign up for our newsletter

Get exclusive updates and a sneak peek into our world every two months. Stay connected, stay informed.

Related Posts

Our expertise lies in establishing, maintaining, and leveraging plant data for business benefit. Through our innovative solutions, we work alongside you to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and reduce costly downtime.


Main: +27 (11) 548 9960
Sales: +27 (11) 548 9970


Copyright @2024 Industrial Data Xchange. All rights reserved.