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Automation for passivehouse


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We are currently trying to get planning permissions to demolish our existing house and then build a new passivehouse. The build wouldn't start for at least another year. I am giving thought right now to things like TV/broadband/wifi/security/electric blinds etc. I have to declare that I approach all of this as an amateur but we simply don't have the budget for fancypants consultants for this so I need to find easy solutions. So to throw a few things out there - 

 

1 We don't need a landline for phone calls but obviously require an internet connection. Is 5G becoming an option now in terms of cost/performance to run a whole house's requirements?

2 Should we plan for ethernet wiring throughout the house or rely on wifi? I do have concerns about the potential health issues of a strong wifi signal but it is hard to understand if these are justified?

3 I suspect that we need some ethernet wiring at a minimum. In simple terms do we just need a router to take the incoming signal and then a big enough ethernet switch to handle all the connections needed?

4 For future proofing will CAT 6 cable be sufficient? I am thinking that we need provision for 4k right now but does CAT 6 handle 8K?

5 Intruder alarms - any recommendations for DIY systems either wired or wireless?

6 Any simple solutions recommended for lighting eg to set up random on and offs when you are out to look like someone is at home?

7 Blind automation - this could be important for passive house to address potential overheating in summer. Are there any simple solutions that can trigger a blind to be lowered when eg a temperature sensor records above a certain level?

 

Any other things I should be thinking about. Don't worry about music as I have old school hifi separates that are good to go and am thinking of supplementing with a Plex media server etc.

 

thanks

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14 minutes ago, markharro said:

We are currently trying to get planning permissions to demolish our existing house and then build a new passivehouse. The build wouldn't start for at least another year. I am giving thought right now to things like TV/broadband/wifi/security/electric blinds etc. I have to declare that I approach all of this as an amateur but we simply don't have the budget for fancypants consultants for this so I need to find easy solutions. So to throw a few things out there - 

 

1 We don't need a landline for phone calls but obviously require an internet connection. Is 5G becoming an option now in terms of cost/performance to run a whole house's requirements?

2 Should we plan for ethernet wiring throughout the house or rely on wifi? I do have concerns about the potential health issues of a strong wifi signal but it is hard to understand if these are justified?

3 I suspect that we need some ethernet wiring at a minimum. In simple terms do we just need a router to take the incoming signal and then a big enough ethernet switch to handle all the connections needed?

4 For future proofing will CAT 6 cable be sufficient? I am thinking that we need provision for 4k right now but does CAT 6 handle 8K?

5 Intruder alarms - any recommendations for DIY systems either wired or wireless?

6 Any simple solutions recommended for lighting eg to set up random on and offs when you are out to look like someone is at home?

7 Blind automation - this could be important for passive house to address potential overheating in summer. Are there any simple solutions that can trigger a blind to be lowered when eg a temperature sensor records above a certain level?

 

Any other things I should be thinking about. Don't worry about music as I have old school hifi separates that are good to go and am thinking of supplementing with a Plex media server etc.

 

thanks

 

The networking rule of thumb is that things that don't move (TVs, consoles, etc) should be wired and leave WiFi for the genuinely mobile things. 

 

Ethernet cat 6 is relatively cheap and while you're building, easy to put everywhere it could possibly be needed.

 

There is no obligation to actually connect it up but even terminating each run to a simple patch panel is not expensive.

 

You then get an ethernet switch with the necessary number of ports and patch all active circuits into that. Then you patch your router (likely one in the same as your DSL modem) into the switch and it will share your domestic internet service across all your active circuits.

 

In my case, the home DSL / WiFi is in the study and a few devices plug straight into that. The spare port is connected to an ethernet wall plate which runs up to the switch (with all the others) and is patched in.  

 

I would not be too concerned about the health aspects of WiFi, you are exposes to lots of electromagnetic radiation sources with your mobile probably the most common but the power output is very low. If you were to stand in front of a high power microwave transmitter then yes, you would come to some harm but luckily they are generally not accessible to the general public.

 

I would not bother automating blinds - we have electric Venetian style ones external to the house and just tweak them with a wall switch if we want to reduce glare or let more light in. They do the job of preventing overheating without any adjustment.

 

 

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1 hour ago, markharro said:

1 We don't need a landline for phone calls but obviously require an internet connection. Is 5G becoming an option now in terms of cost/performance to run a whole house's requirements?

 

A 4G mobile router should be more than sufficient for "normal" use, if you are reasonably close to a mast. I tend to get at least 50Mb/s Down and 40 Mb/s Up, but can often see 80Mb/s - 90Mb/s Down. But, a little less robust than FTTC/FTTP, ie. need to reboot the router around once per week as speeds can drop, and sometimes have to play with what Bands the router is using to get LTE+ working. I'm with Three and get unlimited for £20 / month.

 

I have the same view as above regards hard wiring back to a patch panel.

 

1 hour ago, markharro said:

4 For future proofing will CAT 6 cable be sufficient? I am thinking that we need provision for 4k right now but does CAT 6 handle 8K?

 

If you mean streaming 8K, yes CAT 6 can easily handle multiple 8K streams.

 

1 hour ago, markharro said:

7 Blind automation - this could be important for passive house to address potential overheating in summer. Are there any simple solutions that can trigger a blind to be lowered when eg a temperature sensor records above a certain level?

 

For avoiding over-heating, fixed shading, ie. brise soleil or overhang, is a better option, if correctly designed. If not then definitely automated. I believe PHPP assumes only 40% effective if not automated, since, quite rightly, if it's not automated it won't be used at the times you need it, since you are not always in and thinking about the house temp.

 

I have Hunter Douglas external venetians. HD offer Automation with their blinds. I use Loxone for their automation in order to integrate with the other heating/cooling/comfort systems in the house.

 

Other things to be thinking about are heating/cooling system control, MVHR control, roof vents, videocom, cctv, wireless access points, powering tech via PoE, phones (VoIP?).

 

Have a look at whole house systems like Loxone, don't be pushed back by your initial view on price. I found the price of UFH controller, MVHR controller, roof vent controller, external blind controller, house alarm etc., mostly covered the initial cost of the Loxone starter setup. However, once you've got that in your plans you can get a bit carried away and the prices starts to build up.

Edited by IanR
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56 minutes ago, IanR said:

If you mean streaming 8K, yes CAT 6 can easily handle multiple 8K streams

All depends how much you compress it.  An uncompressd 8k stream is 24 Gbps.

 

59 minutes ago, IanR said:

I use Loxone for their automation in order to integrate with the other heating/cooling/comfort systems in the house.

Same here.  What it allows is for blinds to be opened/closed based on room temperature and direction of the sun, even if you are not at home.  This is not critical if you already have overhangs/canopies well-designed, but still cool.  We're hoping this will be useful in the summer to minimize solar gain and avoid for active cooling.

 

1 hour ago, IanR said:

you can get a bit carried away and the prices starts to build up.

Loxone really starts to get expensive one you buy lots of their fancy light switches.  On the one hand, with presense sensors, you shouldn't really need as many light switches as you normally would, but given same switch also controls lighting scenes, blinds, music and global functions we ended up using 3 in most bedrooms, and thats when things add up.

 

A lower cost approach to automating only specific things is something like https://shelly.cloud/

 

 

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Regarding blinds - if they are the solid up/down variety then I agree that they need some degree of automation to be effective.

 

However if they are the Venetian style (like mine) they  are always down so provide a good degree of shading which can be optimised by tweaking the angle of the slats manually.

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