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Any of you ever look into ‘smart windows’? E.g. google-assistant, wifi, controlled windows opening and closing either on a schedule, or reacting to temperature/rain?

 

On paper it sounds great. In particular I could imagine windows that would open the moment the internal temperature is higher than outside (on hot days, obv) would be awesome.

 

It would look like this (see attached YT video) 

 

But in practice:

- Security? Is it OK for windows to be unlocked permanently?

- Range? Will they open all the way? 

- Size? There’s a thing in the way of your view… acceptable?

- Cleaning? Difficult? No?

- What if you want to manually open them?

- Dependability? 

- Cost? An actuator would probably be about 80GBP, not sure if there’s any smart home kit that can reverse the power polarity for opening/closing., and listen to wifi..(zwave? smartthings?)

 

So many issues, each not impossible to solve, but probably making it too much hassle?

 

 

 

 

Edited by puntloos

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Why not just fit Sage Glass?

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9 minutes ago, Onoff said:

Why not just fit Sage Glass?

 

I doubt that the transparent mode for Sage will let through a cool breeze… 

 

That said, it’s not a crazy idea itself to do this (as well) .. haven’t looked into sage glass pricing vs triple glazing..

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Would you really want that actuator cluttering up the view.

 

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Auto opening for roof lights (Velux / Fakro / Etc) has been a thing for a long time and is very useful for creating passive stack ventilation automatic or otherwise but both need some air inlets lower down the building to let the air in and this is where more traditional windows and auto opening could be a great idea but the example above looks like a sub optimal design to me, aesthetically at least, solution and would leave security issues.

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For this use case, increasing ventilation, I feel a solution already exists - a ventilation system.

 

Windows are not very good ventilation systems because they rely on ambient pressure and they are even worse for cooling during the day because there's barely any temperature delta (although they can provide a perception of cooling when, and only when, you are standing next to them).

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13 hours ago, gravelld said:

For this use case, increasing ventilation, I feel a solution already exists - a ventilation system.

 

Windows are not very good ventilation systems because they rely on ambient pressure and they are even worse for cooling during the day because there's barely any temperature delta (although they can provide a perception of cooling when, and only when, you are standing next to them).

 

Hmm. You make a good few points. And I do fully intend to get a proper ventilation system. Perhaps I shouldn’t worry too much about this one….

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I’m going to pretty much automate everything and I could see very little reason to do this with window opening and closing .

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We are thinking of having a top floor rooflight (over landing above stairs) automated to open if temp nearby reaches a threshold (TBD). Presumably we would benefit from a lower floor window or rooflight opening to allow incoming air. A quick search throes up some interesting Z Wave compatible products: https://www.fakro.co.uk/products/all-products/electric-control/controlling-devices/

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Just now, Adam2 said:

We are thinking of having a top floor rooflight (over landing above stairs) automated to open if temp nearby reaches a threshold (TBD). Presumably we would benefit from a lower floor window or rooflight opening to allow incoming air. A quick search throes up some interesting Z Wave compatible products: https://www.fakro.co.uk/products/all-products/electric-control/controlling-devices/

Yeah I guess if access is tricky then a z wave window is good . I recommend indigo on a Mac to control everything.

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On 11/07/2019 at 08:02, pocster said:

I’m going to pretty much automate everything and I could see very little reason to do this with window opening and closing .

 

We're getting an electric opening skylight and flat roof-lights, primarily because they are otherwise too hard to reach. One of the supplier also suggested, unprompted, adding a "Hautau Primat 190 electric opener" to the kitchen window too, again because being high over the sink it'll be tricky to reach. Adds about £1000 to the cost.

 

But this does open the possibility of automated overnight stack venting in the summer.  So I asked a very similar question over here and @jack made the very good point that key thing overnight is cooling the bedrooms anyway, so thinking about fitted fly screens is more useful than automated opening, in his experience, for those rooms

 

 

 

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One of my main concerns with skylights is that many people (and I count myself as a candidate) let it sit just a touch too long and it looks very dirty and unattractive from inside. 

If there is a shutter above it (that responds to rain..), that might mitigate some/most of the cleaning challenges..

 

 

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On 12/07/2019 at 10:43, joth said:

 

We're getting an electric opening skylight and flat roof-lights, primarily because they are otherwise too hard to reach. One of the supplier also suggested, unprompted, adding a "Hautau Primat 190 electric opener" to the kitchen window too, again because being high over the sink it'll be tricky to reach. Adds about £1000 to the cost.

Hmm so my above Fakro window seems to be a cheaper alternative. I wonder if the build quality is sufficient, it’s a well-regarded brand overall I think..

 

 

On 12/07/2019 at 10:43, joth said:

 

But this does open the possibility of automated overnight stack venting in the summer.  So I asked a very similar question over here and @jack made the very good point that key thing overnight is cooling the bedrooms anyway, so thinking about fitted fly screens is more useful than automated opening, in his experience, for those rooms

 

 

 

Yep, I guess it’s a good idea to think deeply on if you will ever open your windows, and if so which ones. Classic thinking says you should (if you do it is another matter) open windows to circulate air fairly frequently.. but with mechanical the need is already lessened. 

 

Fly screens are indeed important.. and I don’t think automated windows would come with those so I might want to go with the ‘never open’ philosophy… in which case it becomes an interesting question if you should even have openable windows. (cost, primarily).

 

One thing I will probably push for is a centor bifold door (or similar) which houses rolls of fabric in the frame. You can have both flyscreen AND blackout in the same frame by having fly in the left post and blackout right.. (up to something like 4m distance)..

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I’ve got the Fakro z-wave roof windows and would advise you approach with caution. They have been a nightmare to get working with z-wave (there is no Wi-fi option), only got one to work from a Vera platform controller and that meant not being able to use the supplied remote controller with it anymore.

 

The instructions are dire, they should be great but user experience is terrible.

 

If someone can help me make them work properly then I would be a convert, as there is a strangely satisfying feeling being a 100 miles away from the house and getting an alert on my phone that as the room has reached 23 degrees the window has opened.

 

Fly screens are a good idea though, I have a fear that a bird or bat will get in and the window will then shut, trapping it in the house.

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I haven't got around to trying again, but we were never able to get our Fakro z-wave rooflight to work after installation the years ago. I couldn't figure out at the time whether it was how we integrated it to our home automation system that was the problem, or I'd have been onto Fakro for help.

 

Interesting you've had issues too.

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Ugh that's exactly what I didn't want to hear, but thanks for the heads up anyway @Jimbouk and @jack !

I'd also been informed the Velux automation interface is dire, and they've more or less stopped making their Passive house grade skylight anyway it seems, so I was very happy when Fakro said they can make the FFT U8 with z-wave by special order. 

God knows it's going to be a bugger to get to if we ever need to maintain it. But it's much easier to order with electronic opening even if we end up never using it, than attempt to retrofit it.

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Honestly all I want is a wired interface with dry switch contacts for "open" and "close".... 

 

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11 minutes ago, joth said:

Honestly all I want is a wired interface with dry switch contacts for "open" and "close".... 

 

That's exactly what we were after. In the end, we went with the Fakro wireless unit (which from memory has internal dry contacts), connected to our Loxone home automation setup.

 

IMG_20190714_102404.thumb.jpg.cc089be53473ecb8ae0078e8e558f8d2.jpg

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Keylite are apparently to launch a hub & App setup shortly to integrate with their current remote system ( which is 3rd party but I've never got round to finding the OEM of), but I dunno what protocol .

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Hmm, useful, if not slightly depressing stuff. 

 

Agreed with @joth that the main point is the ‘remote opening/closing’ rather than having to manually do it. Whether or not this can be wired into a timer is secondary, and a full smart home ‘ok google open the window’ is just a nice to have.

 

Must say that the maturity of smart home stuff is starting to disappoint me. Clearly it’s new technology but the tech (‘in principle’) is able to handle itself pretty well. The fact that a seriously expensive window is failing such a basic test (‘does it work with common other products’..)  is disappointing.

 

@jack, @Jimbouk - any chance you’re able to try this again for us aspiring smarthomers? 😃 - or anyone else have an actually working setup, perhaps with smartthings or some other hub?

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On 14/07/2019 at 10:10, joth said:

Ugh that's exactly what I didn't want to hear, but thanks for the heads up anyway @Jimbouk and @jack !

I'd also been informed the Velux automation interface is dire, and they've more or less stopped making their Passive house grade skylight anyway it seems, so I was very happy when Fakro said they can make the FFT U8 with z-wave by special order. 

God knows it's going to be a bugger to get to if we ever need to maintain it. But it's much easier to order with electronic opening even if we end up never using it, than attempt to retrofit it.

 

We looked at the passive Velux but it was expensive and very heavy (5 panes of glass). Chose their Integra range (triple glazed) with mains power for the windows over the hall (8m void) and in utility (3m) - comes with little wireless remote units that can also control their blinds (we have 6 sets of those).

 

Very pleased with them,  any window /blind can be controlled by any unit and there are customisable programs etc.

 

That said, we don't have any home automation so can't comment on how you'd integrate them into a broader system.

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30 minutes ago, puntloos said:

 

@jack, @Jimbouk - any chance you’re able to try this again for us aspiring smarthomers? 😃 - or anyone else have an actually working setup, perhaps with smartthings or some other hub?

 

I need to book my electrician back in for this, as he's the one who wired it all up and spoke to Fakro about how it would (/should!) work. Can't see that happening in the next few weeks as I have some other things I need to get ready for him so he can do it all in one visit.

 

That said, it could well be something I or my electrician did back during setup that's causing the problem. I know there was some sort of "learning" mode you needed to access via the remote, which may not have been done properly at the time, despite us having Fakro's tech department walk him through it. If I'd had more time when this all happened I'd have pushed harder to get it sorted then, but too much time has passed for me to go back with a straight face and demand they fix it!

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