Home automation is next in line to try and save precious time. The list below, divided into two categories (home automation and products that have not made the cut), describes the current state of affairs in our house.

Home automation

  1. Smart Lighting applied retroactively in a home is made easy with Philips Hue. Having to turn on lights manually is no longer necessary, as one can create a schedule that follows the natural light-dark cycle. And amongst the added benefits are:
    • Geolocation for recognising when you leave home and arrive home, to turn on and off certain lights as you please.
    • Schedules to provide the impression of being at home while you are on holiday.
    • Using the bedroom nightlights as wake up lights, using Hue Labs features to emulate a sunrise.
    • Slowly fading the lighting in the evening, to prepare for sleep.
    • Movement sensors to trigger events, such as smart plugs or lights. Perfect for when you have to get up at night to go pee.
    • Linking Spotify to our lighting system to create a personal disco. This one is absolutely my son’s favourite.
  2. Google Nest Smart Thermostat V3 observes your heating habits, learns how quickly your house heats up on various temperature days, and adjusts accordingly. The thermostat will make sure your house is up to temp when you want it, and turns off the heating early to prevent wasting energy. And amongst the added benefits are:
    • Geolocation for recognising when you leave home and arrive home, to turn on and off heating and avoid heating the house when nobody is present.
  3. Google Nest Protect V2 smart smoke detectors with incorporated CO detection. The smoke detectors are linked, so in case of fire or CO all smoke detectors in the house will go off at once. We have four in total around the house. Additional features:
    • The CO detection is linked to the Nest thermostat. In case of CO detection, the heating will be turned off instantly.
    • You will be informed by app if there is an event at your house while you are away.
    • The smoke detectors have motion detectors and lighting, to guide your way in case of emergency. The motion detection is also used by the thermostat to check if anyone is present at the house, so it can reduce energy usage in case nobody is present.
    • The app will inform you of battery status, plus the device self-checks its status regularly.
  4. Tado Smart Thermostats for the radiators came a bit after the fact. Ideally you’d combine them with a central thermostat by Tado, however I already had the Google Nest. Our house mainly has floor heating, the front house and upstairs however have radiators and the Tados help regulate these. Additional features:
    • Measuring relative humidity.
    • Geolocation for recognising when you leave home and arrive home, to turn on and off heating and avoid heating the house when nobody is present.
    • Turning off heating while a window is open to save energy.

Products that have not made the cut (yet):

  1. Robot vacuums are unfortunately not an option in our old farmhouse where the thresholds are relatively big, and the rooms not all on the same level. As far as I know, none exist yet able to clear those obstacles. But I’m still on the lookout!
  2. KlikAanKlikUit and LED dimmers I have tried before moving on to Philips Hue. The systems were not easy to use at all, and required a fair bit of installation and tweaking. Only reason I opted for it at first is because Hue seemed so expensive.
  3. Self-cleaning litter box, just no.. It’s like an overengineered cement mixer.
  4. Automatic cat feeders do not (yet) provide the combination of features I’m looking for: food storage multiple days worth, and dosed feeding per individual cat based on their chip.
  5. Intelligent Plant Sensors for use indoors are simply too expensive still, especially for what relatively little they offer.
  6. Gate automation is something I’d want, though it is a bit decadent really. Plus the type of gate we have, a traditional old “Twents wringhek” would require quite a bit of customisation from my side. That is not what is holding me back though; it is the price and priorities. But if I win the lottery, there will be signs.
  7. Shutter automation again is something I’d want, but not easy to do retrofit. There are systems available, but require placement in the walls and access to mains power. As in: forget it.
  8. Velux Active Climate Control is perfect for our skylights. The system is retrofit and can be powered by its own solar panel. Especially during summer, it can aid in regulating air quality in our house. But again, too expensive still and offers too little relatively.

Ultimate goal is of course to automate as much as possible, to create freedom in time and choice by creating a self-sustaining environment to live in.


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