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Monday, March 31 2014

Right at the start of the year, Google announced a surprising move. It said it was purchasing a home appliance maker most of us had never even heard of…for $3.2 billion in cash! It was a gambit that every homeowner should note, because it signals where some very smart money is headed: right where we live!

Remember, Google isn’t just famous for its search engine; it’s also frequently in the news for its forays into any number of futuristic enterprises (those mysterious barges, for instance). The appliance maker that now has Google’s billions in its pocket is called Nest Labs, Inc. Nest makes smart devices that reinvent the traditional ones every homeowner has to deal with, like thermostats and smoke detectors. “Unloved but important devices” was how the press announcement put it.

The unique feature of Nest’s products is that they collect “user behavior” data (i.e., homeowner actions) in order to provide a more tailored response. Google CEO Larry Page explained, “They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now–thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe.”

  The move of Google into the realm of smarter homes is part of a broader trend. In the most recent American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey, there was a dramatic increase in the use of technology solutions in the home. The survey noted an increase in requests for entertainment, security and energy management systems. Energy management systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated as households are given the ability to manage their lighting and temperature over a wireless network. As electronic cars become more prevalent, electronic docking systems in the garage may also become commonplace.

How does this affect the average Evansville homeowner? As the minimum price of these systems decline, automated homes will eventually become the norm. If today it costs around $2500 to automate your home, it’s all but inevitable that similar features will fall in price (and grow in sophistication). Then, when it comes to buying a home or listing your own for sale, the amount of smart automation is bound to become a key selling point—trust Google!

The ability to operate and manage your house from a wireless devices such as your smartphone or laptop is already here…and Nest’s learning technology signals a future where our home and appliances are able to learn from our behavior and predict our needs. Keeping an eye on the future is a good idea for any homeowner, especially when you’re thinking of replacing one of those “unloved but important” devices— and most especially when you’re contemplating listing your home anytime soon. If that’s in your future, why not give me a call? As Google is in the habit of demonstrating, it’s never too soon to prepare for the future! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 02:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 20 2012
Advanced technology has become such a prominent feature in our everyday lives it is no surprise that it’s increasingly affectingEvansville home values. As “Home Automation” features grow in importance, bottom-line home values are following suit. It’s a new phenomenon, one that motivated home sellers (as well as homeowners heeding long term home values) should understand. 
 
Home automation – the inclusion of luxury technological features like temperature control, lighting control, security systems and the like – are becoming more commonplace, increasing home values in the process. A few years ago, adding such bells and whistles to an existing home would probably have been more pricey than the return would justify -- but that is becoming ever less true. Think hi def flat screen TV and you’ll have a good example of the direction home automation is headed: ever-improving features for lower and lower prices.
 
As automated features become more widespread and their prices lower, some of them are growing increasingly simple to add. And the scope of home systems and their effect on home values can be quite varied. For some, adding an ‘automation system’ might consist of something as simple as installing remote or automatic control of a few lights. Others might make electronic security the key, choosing to install a full-fledged central system.
 
Where wireless home Internet networks are already in place, home values can easily be raised by the addition of remote operation. Right now that may sound like an unnecessary futuristic feature, but it may turn out that being able to control lights or heating systems from afar could substantially increase energy efficiency (along with home values).
 
Matthew Berman, one of the owners of New York design firm Workshop/apd, was recently quoted in the New York Times describing a “whole-home” lighting system.
“A popular feature of this kind of system is the ability to hit one button when you're leaving your house to turn off all the lights." As a practical matter, he also recommended keeping automated systems separately controllable, making them less complicated to operate and less subject to breakdown.
 
It's important to think long-term as well as short-term -- especially for anyone looking to increase home values, whether for future or immediate sale. Home automation is looking like a worthy candidate for the Next Big Thing, and buyers might be ready to gravitate toward advanced features that distinguish one Evansville seller's home from the competition. Call me if you would like to discuss how home automation might come into play when it comes to selling your  home. You can call me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RoalndoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, February 26 2011

Advanced programmable thermostats give you precise control over your heating and cooling, helping to reduce wasted energy.


It’s no secret that heating and cooling account for the bulk of a home’s energy usage—an average of over $1,000 annually. Switching from a manual to a programmable thermostat is one simple way to save as much as $180 a year.

The most basic programmable thermostat can be self-installed in an hour, and comes with preset temperature settings for different times of the day.

Some of the latest models offer greater control, easy programming, sophisticated displays, and even communication with you via the Internet. Here is a look at some of these smart units.

High-def, high-tech settings

You wouldn’t think of spending much time in front of your thermostat, but the newest advanced models—with their colorful touchscreen displays—are an engaging, interactive experience. They offer separate programs for each day of the week, and can even alert you if service is required.

With its high-definition screen display, Honeywell’s Prestige Comfort System resembles a mini-computer more than a traditional thermostat.

In addition to indoor temperature, the Prestige’s graphical user interface can display outdoor conditions and humidity with an add-on sensor. An onscreen wizard interviews you about your usage based on simple questions, and then sets a program accordingly. A portable controller lets you adjust settings from any room in the house.

The Prestige is priced from $250 and up.

If you can live without a fancy display, an advanced programmable thermostat from HAI costs around $300 to $400, while a simpler seven-day programmable model from Hunter costs $99.

Control from afar

What if you’re on your way to a long vacation, and you suddenly realized you’d forgotten to turn down your home’s thermostat?

If your home is equipped with the Smart Thermostat from ecobee, you can tap into the system through a personalized web portal anywhere there’s Internet access. Log in to check on your HVAC’s performance and make adjustments on the fly. The unit sells for $469.

Manage your home’s HVAC via a home automation app from Control 4. The sophisticated system allows you to change thermostat settings from your smartphone, pad, and PC. In addition, you can control the lighting, music, window treatment motors, and a wide range of Control 4 devices.

Know the price before you turn it on

Pilot programs for installing smart thermostats that display “time of use” pricing information are underway in regions like Florida and California. These thermostats receive a wireless signal from the utility company, and adjust the temperature according to the price of electricity during different times of the day.

With costs for air conditioning at about 70 cents to $1.20 per hour, reducing AC usage only an hour per day would yield a savings of $65 to $110 over the course of a summer.

Check with your utility company to find out if such a program is available in your area.

A writer covering the latest technologies and trends for a variety of national publications, Les Shu is currently automating his home with the newest doodads to make it smarter than he is.



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/no-sweat-programmable-thermostats-save-energy-costs/#ixzz1EzbPBopl
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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The Trentini Team
F.C. Tucker EMGE REALTORS®
7820 Eagle Crest Bvd., Suite 200
Evansville, IN 47715
Office: (812) 479-0801
Cell: (812) 499-9234
Email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com


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