03 Mar Visiting Crestron’s New American Home
Written by: John Sciacca
Call it serendipity, kismet, or just plain old dumb luck, but at the very end of International CES earlier this month, I found myself unexpectedly swept up into an entourage that included two other AV journalists; Ergotron’s marketing manager, Betsey Banker; and three Crestron employees, including director of residential marketing, Tom Barnett. Within moments of the impromptu gathering, we jumped (actually it was more a clumsy tuck-and-roll-and-knee-crawl on my part) into a limousine and headed across Vegas to visit the 2013 New American Home.
I stumbled into Barnett while walking into my final demo of CES, the joint “Ultimate Home Theater Demonstration” put on by Kaleidescape, Digital Projection, Triad, ADA, D-Box, Screen Excellence, Bitwise Controls, Perfect Path, and Fortress Inc. that made my “biggest, bestest, mostest” show wrap. He said he was getting ready to take a couple of his Crestron colleagues out to tour this home that showcased many Crestron technologies and that he thought I might find it interesting. And, poof! We were off!
The 2013 New American Home was built by Blue Heron and spotlights green building technologies and different construction best practices. The National Association of Home Builders challenged Blue Heron’s design team to create a “state-of-the-art home with the best design, materials, and energy efficiencies,” and even though the nearly 7,000-square-foot home is packed with technology, it consumes no energy and produces no carbon emissions (referred to as a “net zero” home.) The home also achieved LEED Platinum Status and Emerald status under the National Green Build Standard.
Plus, the place just looks cool. Pulling up at night with the home all lit up and glassy and angular, it’s the kind of place you’d expect to see an exotic Italian sports car in the driveway with Crocket and Tubbs walking around inside consoling some Miami drug lord’s totally hot but recently disenfranchised girlfriend.
The home is part of Crestron’s “Integrated by Design” concept that delivers a complete technology solution on a single platform. The goal is to integrate all of the home’s “smart” systems and devices together so they communicate and function together seamlessly. Between AV distribution, lighting, shading, HVAC, and control, Crestron was uniquely poised to provide and deliver all aspects of the home’s technology.
Greg Simmons, co-owner of Eagle Sentry, the local integration firm that handled the technology install on the project, said this made Crestron “a natural fit” as the technology partner.
While the home is packed with technology—nearly $200,000 worth of Crestron components—the AV equipment feels unobtrusive for the most part, never calling attention to itself or detracting from the home’s beautiful, flowing design. Speakers are discreetly placed, touchscreen controls are where you’d expect them to be and don’t clutter the walls, and the programming gives the home automation “smarts” that make it easier for agents to demonstrate and show off the technology.
For instance, a “morning” button turns the televisions on to local news, raises the shades and adjusts the lights, while “away” arms the security, drops the shades, lowers the lights and adjusts the HVAC system to a pre-set based on time of year.
Beyond the technology, the home’s stunning design beautifully integrates indoor and outdoor living, letting owners enjoy the entire space. As you work your way through the home’s multiple levels and rooms, you frequently move outside and back in, surrounded by water, pools, and beautiful views. Here is a view back toward the house from the walking path shown above.
At night, this waterfall overflowing from the pool can display images from a concealed projector, adding another exciting visual element.
Because of Vegas’ year-round nice weather, many people enjoy outdoor living, and the home is built to allow maximum enjoyment of the outdoor spaces in various settings. Here is a multi-TV area in one outdoor space gathered around a fire pit.
This outdoor relaxation space features an area you can swim up to, chill out, and catch a movie on another projector controlled by the Crestron system.
Here’s an overhead shot of the pool area looking out on the golf course.
There is even a secondary, outdoor master bedroom area for the nights when you want to sleep under the stars, or have just visited too many of the homes many bars and drinking areas.
If the Vegas sun should become too brutal during the summer months, the Crestron system can seal the home off from the outside with numerous sliding doors, helping to insulate the occupants from the cruel, desert sun. It can also automatically turn on the home’s misting system to help keep things cool as you walk in and out of the home.
The home features a total of 16 video zones, 24 audio zones, and 120 lighting zones. In-wall control is provided by one V24, one V12, and 10 TSW-750 Crestron touchscreens, in addition to full iOS and Android control. The home’s AV system is housed in dual Middle Atlantic racks in a sealed equipment room.
Part of the success of the project involved the early and constant interaction and communication between the builder, architect, interior designer, and integrator. This ensured all systems were designed to work together and, as Simmons noted, “We left each meeting knowing we were all on the same page.”
The home has an added benefit and opportunity for Crestron dealers as it is available as a marquee display for them to come out with potential clients and demonstrate and present Crestron technologies in a real-world setting.
“Our team designed and programmed the home automation solution so our dealers around the country had a completely Crestron-controlled home to showcase for their customers,” added Chad Hollander, Crestron Las Vegas branch manager.
With the home’s close proximity to McCarran International Airport, groups can easily fly in, rent a car, tour the home, grab lunch, and then fly back in a single day.
Quality Audio Video (QAV) in Denver, Colorado specializes in Crestron Home Automation systems. To learn how QAV can help you automate your home technology contact QAV today.