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Security Monitoring Goes Mobile, Green

Remote monitoring systems not only protect your clients' homes, they help save them energy.

Lisa Montgomery · March 1, 2010

When is the best time for your clients to have full electronic control over their houses? Often it’s when they’re away.

It’s easy to control a home while they’re there, but when they’re away, it’s tough to know what electronics have been left on, sucking up electricity, when they should be off.

“Turning things off is the basic tenet of saving energy,” says Jay McClellan, president of HAI.

A remote monitoring system lets you do just that, right from your cell phone, iPod touch or any other Internet-connected mobile device.

Double-Duty Monitoring

Remote monitoring has been perceived largely as a way to be alerted of security issues, like a break-in or a water leak in the basement. Now, in the wake of the green movement, it’s also poised as an effective way to curb energy use.

Make no mistake, security will always be at the core of remote monitoring, but you can get the green benefits along with the safety measures, says Joe Lautner, vice president of sales and marketing for HomeLogic. “With the right set of features, you can take what was once strictly for security and use it as a green solution as well.”

For the best performance, install a home control system with built-in security features. That one system will not only be able to protect your clients’ homes from fire and burglary, it will also be able to control the lighting, thermostats and some appliances. Many security-capable home control systems also come with remote monitoring options that allow them to manage those devices from anywhere in the world, just as if they were pressing a button on the security keypad by the front door.

That same AWAY button that sweeps through the house, turning off anything that’s on, could also be activated from an iPhone or PC. While your clients are logged into the system, they could also put the lights, entertainment components, water heater, irrigation system and motorized shades into an energy savings mode.

Big Savings for Vacation Homes

Many vacation homes can have sensors installed to report changes in the home’s environmental status - directly to a mobile device. “Having outbound alerts is a very powerful tool when it comes to energy management, particularly for owners of vacation homes,” says Lautner. He cites one family that saw a 40 percent reduction in fuel usage.

“Prior to having a HomeLogic system installed in his vacation ski home in Vermont, the family kept the property set at 55 degrees when the home was unoccupied. After having remote monitoring capabilities added, he felt more comfortable reducing the setting to 50 degrees, because he knew the system would alert him if the temperature ever dropped below 50, which could cause the pipes to freeze.”

Vacation homes are also prone to problems created by house guests. Via a remote monitoring application, your clients could learn, for example, that someone had left open a window, making the AC work harder than it should.

  About the Author

Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in adding electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home. Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Lisa at lisa.montgomery@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics

Security · News · Cinemar · Energy Management · Green · HAI by Leviton · HomeLogic · HomeSeer · All Topics
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