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Welcome to the thinking home

By • Jun 29th, 2006 • Category: Quinta Lifestyle

It’s no dream. Intelligent buildings have come a long way in the last few decades. Time was when an infra-red control over blinds and electric devices seemed state-of-the-art. That is now almost Dark Ages technology. Today sensors can be built into the fabric of a building to sense light, sound or even motion, and operate switches. Move from one room to the next and lights will come on ahead of you. Go to bed and all the electrical devices on stand-by will automatically turn off to save electricity.

Intelligent homes in the Algarve

Depending upon the temperature in your living room, the blinds can come down to keep out the sun, or respond to the first rays of light in the morning by opening. The choices are all yours.

A house that recognizes you as you walk in or communicates with you while you are in another country and cuts energy bills by up to 70% …this isn’t science fiction it’s science fact.

And if you’re not actually in the home, then you can have total control over your home through the internet. From your laptop or even PDA, you can tap into the central control system for your home and check that the burglar alarm has not been triggered by your neighbour’s pet. As you wait in the departure lounge, you can tell the heating to come on in good time for you to have a hot bath ready for your arrival; drive up to the gate of your Algarve villa or apartment complex and simply swiping your ID card will wake your home up and bring on the lights and heating. If a water leak is detected, the supply automatically cuts off to prevent damage. Your fridge can detect when vital supplies are running low and place an order for you. Enhanced security is, quite rightly, integral to most ‘intelligent buildings’ today. They can react to the detection of an intruder by locking internal doors as well as sending images of what is going on to you, a neighbour or a security company. Which of us hasn’t nervously gone to check why a neighbour’s alarm is going off? Now a quick scan on our own computer or TV screen will tell us. All this technology is readily available now.

LEDs and fibre optic lights

The next stages could be even more exciting. There’s lighting – but not as we know it. LEDs and fibre optic lights will replace conventional lamps – changing colour with the mood of the moment and cutting power bills by up to 80%.

photovoltaic cells and there may be no electricity bill to pay

Fit next generation photovoltaic cells and there may be no electricity bill to pay – or they may even produce a profit! But anyone who watched ‘Minority Report’ may have already had a glimpse of the not too distant future. Who needs swipe cards or keys to make sure that your home recognizes you and lets you in? They can be duplicated or stolen. The day will soon be here when ‘biometrics’ – your fingerprint or iris – will perform that role far more securely. Rich folk’s toys? Not so. All of these devices increase our convenience, security and comfort – and can radically reduce running costs. Long-term they will be seen as essential – and add value to a property.

Donald Balfour, C&B
Tel: 00351 289 591671

- Director - Born in Germany and educated in various European countries as well as in the USA, Alison is a true internationalist.
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