The 3 things you should know before choosing your home's electrical system
When building a new home, one of the most important decisions you will make is your choice of how it is wired, because, once it's done there is no doing it again, it is not like repainting a wall, the decision is likely to be for the lifespan of the house. This choice will affect the security, comfort and lifestyle that your family enjoys while at home. Your choice will also determine your home's ongoing costs of ownership, its capital value, and its environmental footprint.
In this article, we look first at choosing the right technology for your needs, and then at some of the beautiful finishes available.
When it comes to wiring any home, you have three choices:
- the traditional 230V system
- a proprietary single manufacturer system
- the KNX worldwide standard open protocol system.
This is the “standard” electrical wiring which has been commonplace in homes since the end of the 20th century. It utilises manual light and power socket switches and offers no security, comfort, convenience, energy management or environmental benefits. This technology is approaching the end of its life cycle, as it has in cars and commercial buildings. It has the lowest initial cost and offers the lowest ongoing maintenance costs, but typically it has the highest ongoing energy costs and the worst environmental impact.
Homes with this type of system typically have the lowest capital value and the lowest resale value. Over the lifetime of a home, this type of system has the highest real cost of ownership.
You should consider an un-automated 230V system if minimising your initial capital expenditure is your primary concern, and security, comfort, convenience, ongoing cost of ownership and environmental impact are not important to you.
Proprietary Single Manufacturer Systems
Several manufacturers have built their own proprietary systems to automate control of the electrical systems and technology in a home. This can include control of lighting, climate, drapes and windows, security and surveillance systems, access control systems, irrigation, audio visual equipment, or virtually any electrical system in your home. These systems can offer improvements in security, comfort and convenience along with energy savings and lower environmental impact. These systems typically have the highest initial costs and the highest ongoing maintenance costs but offer lower energy costs and lower environmental impact.
The capital value and resale value of homes fitted with this type of system are typically higher than homes with an un-automated 230V system. There are some inherent risks with this type of solution. Because they are built by a single manufacturer and with technology owned by that manufacturer, if that manufacturer decides not to support your particular product any longer, doesn’t have adequate spare parts or service facilities, or changes their hardware, firmware or software, you can end up with a system which can’t grow or evolve as technologies change, or if you have a failure, a system which can’t be serviced and needs to be replaced.
It’s difficult to know what the real cost of ownership of this type of system will be. If nothing goes wrong, the energy savings can deliver substantially better real cost of ownership than an un-automated 230V system, but if things go wrong the real cost of ownership can be much higher.
You should consider this type of solution if security, comfort, convenience and minimising environmental impact are your primary concerns, you are comfortable with a degree of risk of ownership, and initial costs and the real cost of ownership are not important to you.
KNX Worldwide Standard Open Protocol Systems
KNX was established in 1990 to provide a manufacturer-independent standardised and open protocol that would allow building and environmental control products to “speak” to each other. Since then it has become the worldwide standard for building and environmental control and is covered by the international ISE/ISO 14543-3 standard amongst others.
Currently, over 400 manufacturers build more than 8000 products which comply with the KNX open standard. These products are supported by more than 88,000 KNX-certified professionals worldwide.
In March 2018 it was adopted by the New Zealand and Australian Standards Boards as the New Zealand / Australian Technical Specification for Building Control SA/SNZ TS ISO/IEC 14543.3:1-6:2018.
KNX offers the same range of benefits as a proprietary system, but without the inherent risks associated with a proprietary single-manufacturer solution. KNX installations typically have a higher initial cost than an un-automated 230V system, but a lower initial and ongoing cost than a proprietary system. Typically they offer the lowest energy usage, the lowest real cost of ownership and the lowest environmental impact. The capital and resale value of homes with KNX inside are typically higher than homes with an un-automated 230V system, and comparable to homes with a proprietary single manufacturer system.
You should consider a KNX solution if security, comfort, convenience, minimising environmental impact, initial costs, the real cost of ownership, future upgradability, future serviceability and security of investment are important to you.
And, very importantly, with an open KNX system, you have a wide and beautiful range of switches to suit and add value to any interior design.
Basalte Sentido and Basalte Deseo Ranges
Zennio TMDP Range
We work with KNX manufacturers such as ABB, Theben, Zennio, Gira, Basalte, and Lithoss amongst others.
- Click here for images and details of our favourite switch brands
- You are welcome to contact us to discuss your options in more detail, or, for us to recommend a local installer. The best time for this discussion is during the planning stages of your project, so don't wait for your no-obligation advice.