Incorporating Smart Glass into Your Home Automation System

smart glass systems are becoming more popular in residential applications

For years the home automation industry has been using automated shades and blinds to control both the amount of natural light entering rooms as well as the amount of heat transfer that occurs.  Both are great reasons to invest in motorized shades since they can have a direct impact on overall energy usage in both residential and commercial spaces.  But smart glass is an alternative that doesn’t require any type of motorization or window treatments.

The Benefits of Smart Glass for Energy Savings

Smart glass works by reducing the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the window.  The reduction of light translates to a reduction in heat as well.  This means that in the hot months of summer you can reduce the amount of time air conditioning systems need to run.  Jason Harrison from Audio Video Experts in Los Angeles says “These systems can be especially beneficial in areas like Southern California where high summer temperatures can dramatically impact cooling costs.”

Different products operated in different ways but they all accomplish the same basic thing.  For the most part they are controlled using electric current that causes the glass to either be transparent or opaque.  The opacity is dependent upon how dark you need your room and can be determined when purchasing the product.  “Using a product like a Control4 system allows us to incorporate all control into one device.”

The least expensive method of accomplishing this is to use a film.  This means that you don’t have to replace your existing windows.  You simply apply the film to the inside of the windows that you want to be able to darken.  An electrode is then attached that allow for controlling the film.  The electrode is controlled with a wi-fi device that is controllable from a smartphone.   One such product is made by Sonte Film.

Other manufacturers offer products that require you to replace your existing windows.  Their windows basically operate the same way but the solution is more elegant.  Some manufacturers even offer windows that have soundproofing capabilities if you live in an area with a great deal of ambient noise.

The controls couldn’t be any easier.  You can have the windows change modes at the brightest part of the day, or on a schedule of your own choosing.

Enhance Your Privacy at Home

Another great benefit of this type of glass is that it allows you more privacy anytime you want it.  It’s wonderful to have a house with windows everywhere.  But sometimes you want to feel more secluded.  Not to worry.  With the press of a button you can make all the windows in your home opaque and no one will be able to see in.

Jason went on to say “This can be great when you are out of town on vacation as well.  Incorporated into a full home automation system you can even have the windows work in conjunction with your lighting control system making it look like your home is occupied even if you thousands of miles away on a beach somewhere.”

Great For Media Rooms

Sometimes the room you use for your home theater or media room has a large number of windows.   This can be annoying as it causes a glare on your TV or washes out the image from your projector.  Smart windows can eliminate this glare in a matter of seconds allowing you to watch your home entertainment system any time of the day or night.

While smart glass technology is relatively rare in residential homes, it has been used in commercial buildings for years.  The ease with which it is capable of being controlled means that it is now moving into more and more residential projects.  Check it out for your home.


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Planning the Perfect Day in Tampa Florida

perfect day in Tampa FLWhile we all dream of leaving town on an exotic vacation, it can often be just as fun (not to mention cheaper) to plan an exciting “staycation”.  The Tampa area is filled with fun and interesting things to do, all you have to do is look around.  Here is an idea for a fun filled day that requires just a little driving.

Exotic Animals

While Busch Gardens in Tampa is world-renowned for it’s fun rides and spectacular animal exhibits, a lesser known park also hosts some exotic animals.  Start your day at the Big Cat Rescue is located in the Citrus Park area north of Tampa.  Here you’ll find a wide variety of ferocious felines that have been rescued from less than ideal circumstances.

This non-profit organization has been rescuing big cats since 1992 and now the park is home to over 80 cats and includes lions, tigers, bobcats, and mountain lions.  While their stories are often sad, the sanctuary is a great place to get up close and personal with these beautiful animals.

The sanctuary offers a variety of tours that include daytime tours, kids tours, and even feeding tours.  Unlike a typical zoo your tour will be led by a guide that educates you on the animals and their particular circumstances.  All visits should be scheduled in advance.  You can schedule a visit here.

Exotic Food

Tampa Bay is known for it’s wide variety of ethnic foods.  And some of the most flavorful dishes come from the island of Cuba.  Though our relations with this tiny Caribbean island are just now starting to warm up again, their food has been heating up Tampa for many decades.

One of the best and most well-known spots is The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City.  This landmark restaurant has been serving authentic Spanish and Caribbean dishes for over 100 years.  In fact it is the oldest restaurant in the entire state.

Here you’ll find everything from authentic Cuban sandwiches to beautiful and hearty paellas.  In addition to the amazing food, visitors will be amazed at the beautiful setting.  The original restaurant underwent a $6.5 million dollar renovation in 2006 and now has the ambiance to match it’s amazing food.

Exotic Outdoor Movie Night

What better way to finish your day then by heading home for a movie night under the beautiful Florida sky?  Innovative Sight & Sound of Clearwater specializes in designing and installing over-the-top custom home theaters.  In an area with weather as amazing as Tampa, it only makes sense that you would incorporate the outdoors into your movie watching experience.

In addition to high performance surround sound systems they also design and install smart home automation systems.  This makes controlling your audio video system as easy as the press of a button.

It’s the perfect way to end your exotic stay-at-home vacation.  You’ll finish the day full and relaxed.

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