Hot Technology That’s PrettyCool
Dog Runs, Touring Musicians
CEDIA integrators routinely make HVAC part of theme-based scenes like Vacation Mode, where lights go off, temperature sets back and the security system arms. But their creative options and energies are seemingly boundless.
Marc Leidig, president of Ambiance Systems in Clifton Park, N.Y., uses HVAC sensors and thermostats to control snow melt for clients’ driveways, walkways and even one backyard dog run. On the latter project, the heating contractor adapted a driveway melt system for the dog run by installing underground tubing for a stream of antifreeze that warms the run during winter. A Crestron system gives the homeowner manual, automated or time-based control of all the driveways and dog areas. “We set the dog’s warming system to be on any time the temperature is below 45 degrees,” Leidig says.
For humidity control, Ambiance uses Crestron thermostat/humidistats to cut down on wall clutter and parts costs. “In the Northeast, where there are extreme cold snaps, even moderate humidity levels in the house can cause condensation that can ruin paint jobs and windows,” Leidig says. “The Crestron system links an outdoor sensor to the thermostat/humidistat in software, [so we can] write a scene that adjusts humidity levels in a house based on outdoor temperature. The program calibrates down the humidity of the house during cold snaps, and when the temperature moderates, it automatically brings up the level of humidity.”
Ambiance also uses climate control for green home design, which factors in readings like outside temperature and the sun’s angle. “We’ve done interesting things with control of skylights and motorized windows,” Leidig says. In one project, a cupola in the middle of a home acts as a light well and a chimney for passive cooling in the summer. The lighting control system motorizes the windows and controls the ceiling fans. The fan turns in the correct direction based on season. In the summer, a sensor in the cupola will determine that when air stagnates, the fans will come on and the windows will open.