A sophisticated home automation control system founded on Dynalite technology provides London mansion Orchard House with unrivalled performance, controllability and energy efficiency

Orchard House, a truly spectacular eight-bedroom detached residence adjoining Wimbledon Common in south London, has been built to offer top-end house purchasers unparalleled scale and luxury. Developer Curzon Place Properties’ Orchard House incorporates three floors and features an adjoining indoor swimming pool and spa complex, as well as a multiple car garage and a security lodge. It is also equipped with its own cinema and library, along with four living rooms and separate staff accommodation.

Orchard House is a multi-million-pound property that incorporates a sophisticated home automation control system from lighting control and automation group Dynalite. The automated system controls lighting circuits and air conditioning, underfloor heating and gas fires in the main living rooms. It enables the smooth operation of the ‘smart home’.

Home automation and electrical specialist CEI of Meopham Green, Kent, has created a fully automated home that provides the occupant with convenience and flexibility. The facilities include multi-room audiovisual systems, a fully equipped modern home cinema with one-button touch control and bathroom-tile televisions. Dynalite’s intelligent mood lighting and climate control system is featured throughout the property.

The colour touch-screen control panel for the system is located at the entrance to the building. The screen displays the layout of the building on a floor-by-floor basis in a schematic form. Using the schematic and an LED status display, the user can control and adjust the lighting in each of the rooms, as well as the pool area, sauna and steam rooms.

Each of the controllers on the main control panel can be used to raise or lower the level of light, allowing the user to create their required ambience or mood-lighting combination. These mood settings can be recalled at the press of a single button. Alternatively, the operator can alter the settings via the touch screen.

For convenience, the keypad has a ‘goodbye’ mode, which turns off all the lighting circuits, and a ‘hello mode’, which turns on the set lighting scene.

Environmental design

The lighting control system has been programmed to operate all the dimmed lighting circuits at 95%, in order to reduce energy wastage and save lamp life. This includes the LED spotlights in each of the eight ensuite bathrooms. Ballast controllers have been incorporated into the design to enable the Dynalite system to dim all the circuits, including cold-cathode varieties.

Each of the home’s climate control systems is fully integrated into the Dynalite network, including the underfloor water-heating system and air-conditioning system, which is integrated via a LonWorks interface. This solution enables the air-conditioning and heating systems to be linked to Dynalite’s organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays that are built into the control panels.

The OLEDs feature a dynamic text display and have been developed for applications where environmental controls are integrated with Dynalite control systems.

The OLED displays have been installed in the main rooms to provide the occupant with localised climate control. They show set-point and fan speed. Each panel detects the ambient temperature and then calls for more heating or cooling, as required. This technology makes it easy for the home owner to view individual room temperature settings from the main control panel. Users can adjust settings as they enter or leave the premises.

Orchard House features a central glass atrium that floods the residence with natural light. Due to the extensive influence of daylight, sophisticated lighting controls were required to respond to the changing ambient light conditions. To minimise energy wastage, CEI installed passive infrareds (PIRs) with daylight sensors. These enable the Dynalite system to detect when the natural light reaches the designated lux level and then automatically turns off appropriate lighting circuits to reduce energy wastage. When the lux level drops to a preset level, the system automatically reactivates the ceiling lighting.

Leisure lighting

Within Orchard House’s multi-purpose room, which doubles as a home cinema, the user is able to control the various circuits by using the infrared hand-held controller or the wall-mounted keypad. This is programmed for ‘daytime scene’ and ‘movie scene’ options.

With the press of a button, the living room is transformed into a home cinema as the projector, screen and speakers are automatically lowered from concealed locations. At the same time, black-out blinds are lowered and LED perimeter lighting is activated. Other lighting circuits within the room are faded down to the selected level. The infrared controller is also used to alter the sound levels, to suit the user’s individual taste.

In the indoor swimming pool area, the Dynalite system is used to control the cold-cathode bulkhead lighting, which has been installed round the pool’s perimeter. This cold-cathode lighting is concealed in troughs, with downlights positioned below to create an attractive V-shaped lighting effect that ‘wall-washes’ the polished plaster walls. The lighting system has also been used to control the ceiling-mounted fibre-optics, which replicates stars twinkling in the night sky.

Home automation and lighting management are becoming increasingly important. The Dynalite control system at Orchard House will help set a new benchmark for future projects.