The 3 things you should know before choosing your homes electrical systems.

When building your new home, one of the most important decisions you will make is your choice of electrical systems.These choices will affect the security, comfort and lifestyle that your family enjoys while at home. Your choices will also determine your homes on-going costs of ownership, it’s capital value, and it’s environmental foot print.

You have three choices; an un-automated 230V system, a proprietary single manufacturer system, or the KNX worldwide standard open protocol system. We will cover each of these below to help you decide which solution is best for you.

 

Un-automated 230V

This is the “standard” electrical wiring which has been common place in homes since the end of the 19th century. It utilises manual light and power socket switches, and offers no security, comfort, convenience, energy management or environmental benefits.

This technology is approaching the end of it’s life cycle.It has the lowest initial cost and offers the lowest on going maintenance costs, but typically it has the highest on going energy costs and the worst environmental impact.

Homes with this type of system typically have the lowest capital value and the lowest resale value.

Over the lifetime of a home this type of system has the highest real cost of ownership.You should consider an un-automated 230V system if minimising your initial capital expenditure is your primary concern, and security, comfort, convenience, on going cost of ownership and environmental impact are not important to you.

Proprietary Singe Manufacturer Systems

Several manufacturers have built their own proprietary systems to automate control of the electrical systems and technology in a home.

This can include control of lighting, climate, drapes and windows, security and surveillance systems, access control systems, irrigation, audio visual equipment, or virtually any electrical system in your home.

These systems can offer improvements in security, comfort and convenience along with energy savings and lower environmental impact.

These systems typically have the highest initial costs and the highest on going maintenance costs, but offer lower energy costs and lower environmental impact when compared to an un-automated 230V system. The capital value and resale value of homes fitted with this type of system are typically higher than homes with an un-automated 230V system.

There are some inherent risks with this type of solution. Because they are built by a single manufacturer and utilise a proprietary technology owned by that manufacturer, if that manufacturer goes out of business, ceases to trade in your country, decides not to support your particular product any longer, doesn’t have adequate spare parts or service facilities, or changes their hardware, firmware or software, you can potentially end up with a system which can’t grow or evolve as technologies change, or if you have a failure, a system which can’t be serviced and needs to be replaced.

It’s difficult to know what the real cost of ownership of this type of system will be. If nothing goes wrong, the energy savings can deliver substantially better real cost of ownership than an un-automated 230V system, but if things go wrong the real cost of ownership can be much higher.

You should consider this type of solution if security, comfort, convenience and minimising environmental impact are your primary concerns, you are comfortable with a degree of risk of ownership, and initial costs and real cost of ownership are not important to you.

KNX Worldwide Standard Open Protocol systems

KNX was established in 1990 to provide a manufacturer independent standardised and open protocol that would allow building and environmental control products to “speak” to each other.

Since then it has become the worldwide standard for building and environmental control and is covered by the international ISE/ISO 14543-3 standard amongst others.Currently over 400 manufacturers build more than 8000 products which comply with the KNX openstandard. These products are supported by more than 50,000 KNX certified professionals world wide. They offer the same range of benefits as a proprietary system, but without the inherent risks associated with a proprietary single manufacturer solution.

These systems typically have a higher initial cost than an un-automated 230V system, but a lower initial cost than proprietary system.

On going maintenance costs can be, but aren’t always higher than an un-automated 230V system, but are typically lower than a proprietary system.

Typically they offer the lowest energy usage, the lowest real cost of ownership and lowest environmental impact.

The capital and resale value of homes with a KNX system are typically higher than homes with an un-automated 230V system, and comparable to homes with proprietary single manufacturer system.

You should consider this type of solution if security, comfort, convenience, minimising environmental impact, initial costs, real cost of ownership, future upgradability, future serviceability and security of investment are important to you.You are welcome to contact us should you wish to discuss your options in more detail.

The best time for this discussion is during the planning stages of your project.

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