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Renovation means innovation

May 2018 Smart Homes | Comments Off on Renovation means innovation
Renovation means innovation

Modern home improvement is smarter, safer and even more sophisticated, says Michael Bancroft, marketing development and offer manager for wiring accessories at Schneider Elec-tric

The explosion in the popularity of smart technologies has changed our perception of ‘home im-provement’. There is no better illustration of this than our altered motivations when it comes to renovation. Only a few years ago, home improvement was merely skin deep – focused on painting, decorating and modernising the surface layer of the home interior and exterior. Yet, home owners are now looking beyond the aesthetic and into the systems that make houses liveable – power, lighting and heating.

We are seeing a concerted, consumer-driven movement to turn UK houses into smart homes as consumers are expected to spend more on smart home products over the next 12 months. In fact, it is estimated that smart home spending will hit £65bn by 2020, according to a report by Juniper Research. While this goal may appear to be ambitious, it does not have to be onerous. End users looking to renovate their homes can benefit enormously from access to a network of expert installers, electricians and the latest smart technologies. Electricians who are able to offer this combination possess the killer advantage that turns renovation from a chore into an exciting opportunity to augment dwellings and lives for the better.

Home improvement: the smart way

A central challenge with many renovations is the upgrading of electrical systems. End users are looking for products that are ideally suited for both new construction and refurbishment pro-jects. This means sourcing a stylish product that is easy to remove and reattach during the dec-oration process.

When it comes to creating a more connected, sophisticated home, light switches, temperature controls and power distribution are at the very centre of this process. Ensuring their optimal efficiency and the comfort and safety of the occupants should be an electrician’s top priority in any renovation project.

This is why we are witnessing a new wave of cutting-edge, connected devices entering the market. Today’s wiring accessories offer innovative design features, such as Schneider Elec-tric’s Lisse range of light switches and sockets, which offer USB charging ports and accessories such as a charging shelf to rest the phone on. Not only do these accessories serve a vital role in the home, they are also stylish and fun.

When it comes to home improvement, end users are hungry for products that provide more information and control over their comfort and energy usage. Indeed, network company Cisco predicts that by 2020 the number of connected devices will exceed 50 billion as homes fill up with smart sensors, meters and other connected equipment. The IoT facilitates the easy ex-change of data and enables users to make the best, most informed decisions for their homes.

Wiser Heat, Schneider Electric’s smart heating system, is one solution. Wiser goes beyond smart homes and enables something called a ‘smart zone’, allowing home owners to custom-ise every room of their house to a desired temperature. By linking a home’s room and radiator thermostat though the IoT, a phone app can provide users with convenient and complete con-trol over their home heating. In addition, combining IoT connected thermostats and radiators enables home owners to monitor the temperatures of individual rooms and change them re-motely with a swipe of their phone, wherever they are. This allows them to regulate tempera-tures when they need to and empowers them to be more energy efficient. Smart heating de-vices have become an increasingly popular addition to the smart home.

Fast installation and long-lasting protection

Occupant safety and installation speed also cannot be ignored. End users prefer installations that are fast, competitively priced and cause as little disruption as possible. Electricians are therefore under considerable pressure to ensure they can install the desired technology in a cost-effective manner while meeting customer expectations and tight deadlines. In unfortu-nate circumstances speed can trump safety, leading to exposed wiring or faults that pose a danger to occupants.

Neither customers or electricians should have to compromise. The electrical market has seen an abundance of new products that are quick and easy to install. These products have reduced the time needed for installation, and are therefore more cost effective while avoiding compli-cations that can emerge down the line. These devices ensure electricians can work quickly and safely and that renovation projects stay on track.

To ensure fast installation and long-lasting protection, products such as Schneider Electric’s Easy9+ consumer units offer straightforward flexibility and generous space for electricians to work. Reversible enclosure doors allow greater access, and semi-flush mounting designs allow the consumer units to be embedded within the building’s structure. This offers electricians maximum access while also keeping wiring and end users safe.

Style and purpose

While some renovations boil down to a new coat of paint to create an entirely new look, the same principles of utility and quick installation are revolutionising how we approach aesthetic design. Light switches, often the most visible wiring accessories in a dwelling, are changing – and those that marry visual appeal with extra functionality are becoming more popular.

For example, Schneider Electric’s Lisse Screwless Deco offers a range of stylish finishes along-side efficient design and added utility. Designed for simple installation, its plates are attached and removed by a sturdy clipping system, which holds reliably but can also be easily removed when decorating.

As our understanding of home improvement continues to transform with emerging technolo-gies, electricians have much to gain. The renovation process now focuses on the purpose of a building as well as its appearance, and empowers home owners to gain insight into its daily running, including energy usage. In a world where customers want style, speed and ease of installation, these solutions will fast define the future of renovation.