Managing four kids in a normal-size home can be hard enough. Keeping track of them in a house that measures 20,000 square feet could have been nearly impossible for the owners of this sprawling estate, had it not been for the home management system that was installed into the residence by Electronics Design Group (EDG) of Piscataway, NJ. A team of home systems designers divided the residence into several zones, each of which could be controlled independently from a Crestron home management system. From any wireless Crestron touchpanel, the owners can monitor and adjust the temperature of 10 separate heating and cooling zones, direct music to any of 20 listening zones, send video from multiple sources to as many as eight high-def displays, set up dozens of groups of lights and control the environment of a detached sports barn.
The ability to manage a home by individual zones provides the busy family with a quick and convenient way to prepare the place for a party, their return home from work and school or for a vacation. In seconds, they can turn on lights throughout the house, warm up the main living areas, and have music playing in the kitchen and great room. Just as easily, the system can sweep through the house to shut everything off before they go to bed. Making these adjustments in such a large house without the help of the Crestron system would have taken the family several minutes and several trips up and down the stairs, says EDG’s Joe McNeil.
In addition to the conveniences the system provides, it also helps the family be more efficient in its use of energy. Using interactive Crestron touchpanels, the owners can set the temperature of one zone at 70 degrees and areas that are unoccupied at 65 degrees, for example. Similar energy-efficient setups can be devised for the lighting. Touching certain icons on the Crestron touchpanels can turn off every light in the house and detached sports barn, ensuring that no light is left on at bedtime or while the family is away.
The Crestron CP2E home management system handles lighting setups that impact the entire house. For room-specific arrangements, the owners utilize wall-mounted Lutron keypads. The buttons on each of the homes’ 46 keypads were programmed by EDG to brighten and dim certain fixtures. “The keypads reduced the amount of ‘wall acne’ that often results when you use traditional light switches in an estate this large,” says McNeil.
There was no way the family was going to traipse back to their main equipment closet in the basement every time they wanted to listen to music, so EDG added a Crestron eight-source, eight-zone audio distribution system to the home so that every family member could listen to whatever they wanted in whatever room they wanted. The weatherproof SpearkCraft speakers in the barn can play songs stored digitally on a ReQuest music server while the in-ceiling units can fill the kitchen and great room with tunes from a favorite XM Radio station, for example. The Crestron touchpanel shows the family all the entertainment choices, including video options. Given the size of the house, the number of displays and the diverse video preferences of the family members, EDG installed four digital video recorders (DVRs). Shows stored on the DVRs can be directed to any TV on the property, including the 32-inch LG HDTV in the barn and the 117-inch Stewart Filmscreen screen in the dedicated home theater. As its own zone, the theater features a Runco DLP projector, a 7.2 surround-sound system and, of course, a Crestron touchpanel to start the show.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.