Imagine a cold Minnesota night, and you’re wrapped in a warm down comforter and ready for sleep. Suddenly, you realize you left the lights on downstairs. You forgot to set the timer on the coffee maker and to lock the doors. But placing your feet on the cold floor seems dreadful.
This may never be a problem again. Innovative technicians and builders at Carl M. Hansen Cos. are building smart homes all over Edina.
“We commonly hear the words ‘smart home’ used to describe what we do,” says Robert Kreatz, who is partner and president of Audio Visual Installation and Design (Avid). “We have discovered through the years that we prefer the word ‘synergy’ when referring to these homes.”
Carl M. Hansen Cos. works with companies like Avid to carefully create homes equipped with lighting, heating and electronic devices easily controlled remotely by any smartphone, iPad or computer. These aren’t only for new construction. “About 90 percent of our work is in existing homes,” Kreatz says. “New construction is easier for obvious reasons, but we’re able to install projects of all sizes, with minimal intrusion.”
Heather Hansen, director of sales and marketing for Hansen Cos., lives in a synergy home. She says, “What Hansen Cos. has now done for the homeowner is streamline the household to make homes much more controllable from any location.”
Most of us have some type of device on or near us at all times—a smartphone, iPad, or computer. With one glance at any of these devices, homeowners are able to quickly see the status of any number of services.
Things like temperature, lighting, music and much more can all be monitored and adjusted at the touch of a device. These robust systems are easily and intuitively controlled. “Most homeowners are even able to work their system without a need for a demonstration,” says Kreatz.
While a synergized home might seem like an add-on, the reality is, it can be a lifesaving system in many ways. “We were in Louisiana when a big storm hit,” says Hansen. “The kids were home with a babysitter. We were able to monitor the performance of the heating and cooling systems remotely and detect any other problems that potentially could have occurred [at home] during the storm.”
This type of synergy home is also extremely helpful for snowbirds, who can monitor their residence, turn lights on and off, change the temperature, and even watch the home through security cameras.
Many of these advanced technologies also feature cameras inside the property, making it a challenge for potentially rowdy teenagers to host parties while Mom and Dad are away.
“Of course, these homes are first and foremost very cool,” says Hansen. “But more than that, we also worked with Andersen Windows and Honeywell to install a chip in the locking system of the windows and doors.” Burglars often walk around and tap unlocked windows to easily slip into unlocked homes. But these carefully designed systems work to keep homes locked and safe. “It is reassuring to be able to check your system and know that all your windows and doors are secure.”
With evolving technology, the designers of these systems have prepared for the future as new products become available. Wiring in the walls allows for upgrades to the system without the need to rewire the entire home.
“The best part is,” adds Hansen, “you can be at work, and before arriving home you can change the temperature, and turn on ambiance lighting and set music to play. Walking into the home after a long day of work is soothing and relaxing, as the home is programmed exactly how you want it.” And when you are all snuggled into your bed on a cold winter’s night, a simple tap of a button will turn out the lights and lock the doors.