AVDomotics goes off grid with its home automation system by Crestron and Powerhouse Dynamics’ eMonitor.
For when you want to get away—really far away—a completely off-the-grid home is possible with home technologies today.
This home in Northern Arizona is miles from the nearest power lines, so it is built to be completely self-sustainable by automatically storing and controlling energy—while providing plenty of luxury for its part-time occupants.
A 72-panel solar PV array produces 16.6 kw, with 260 kWh of battery storage, enough for about 36 hours of use. A solar thermal system heats water for domestic use and the home’s radiant-floor heating system, and a backup generator is used when all the power from the sun isn’t enough.
Automated Energy Storage
Custom electronics installation firm AVDomotics in Sedona, Ariz., worked with the homeowner to design and install a Crestron home control system and Powerhouse Dynamics‘ eMonitor (now SiteSage) that could monitor the power production of the solar system and power consumption, battery levels, and cut loads automatically when necessary.
Crestron touchpanels, iPads and the homeowner’s iPhone show user-friendly charts and graphs of the home’s production of solar power and how much energy is stored and being consumed.
The company also programmed the Crestron system to monitor the level of liquid propane and water available in their respective tanks.
The Crestron system can also perform much-needed load shedding, in which it turns certain devices down or completely off to save energy.
When the house is unoccupied, for example, the well and septic pumps shut off, and if there isn’t much juice left in the solar system’s storage batteries, the lights dim to 75 percent.
When it’s time to leave for the season, the owners only have to push an away button on any of their Crestron controllers turn off everything. Then they can hop in the car, take a last look at their remote retreat, and press another button to roll down the aluminum shutters over all of the first floor windows and doors for safety and security.
For added assurance, the Sniders and AVDomotics receive alerts from the eMonitor and Crestron systems if any circuits are on or if there’s a problem with a system in the home. Emails are also delivered to AVDomotics twice a day with a status report of the system, which helps the custom electronics dealer to proactively remedy a situation before it becomes costly or dangerous.
Above: Outback inverters (left center) and inverter control system convert DC power from a solar array and battery bank (left) to AC used by the house and automated by a Crestron processor (bottom right).