The Sydney Home Show is known as the Mecca for building and renovation enthusiasts. But with every passing year we're seeing more cool, innovative and energy efficient technology creeping in. Here are some of our favourite tech highlights from the 2017 show floor.
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If you're looking for a more aggressive green energy solution for your house, this could be for you. Alternatively, it's great for those of us light-deprived individuals living in the literal shadow high density housing.
Unlike traditional skylights, which rely on specific placements and roof lines -- the Redi-lite Spectra system utilises solar panels. They then tap into that natural source of power to run your lighting system.
Sadly, this isn't a permanent solar solution -- you have to switch back to the transformer at night. But it still offers decent cost savings if you you use lights during the day. Harsnessing the raw power of the sun means zero operating costs during those hours.
If you're suffering from scorching northern summers, biting Hobart winters, or Melbourne -- meet MyAir.
It allows you to have complete autonomy over the air flow in your home, like a God. In addition to setting timers, you can section your house into zones and choose different temperatures. Everyone can set their own personal comfort level.
One of the biggest concerns for air conditioning is the running cost. Nobody wants to sell their first-born for climate control unless absolutely necessary.
MyAir helps to combat energy waste with motion sensors. If there is no movement for 10 minutes, the temperature will adjust by 1 degree. If another 10 minutes passes, it will adjust again. The temperature will return to normal once someone reenters the room.
This change may seem minimal, but it reduce energy usage in that area by up to 20%.
The included MyPlace touchscreen also doubles as a regular tablet -- so it can be used to check email, social media and unlikely animal friend videos. You can also download all of your other home automation and security apps onto it.
Want to come home to a comfortable temperature or mess with your loved ones from afar? Remotely dictate your house's climate from the MyAir app so you're never uncomfortable.
Advantage Air are killing it with innovation. This extends to their smart lighting solution.-- no one else in the market is quite doing what they are.
Not only can you control when your lights turn on and off, you can set moods for each space and save your favourite configurations. Netflix and chill lighting, for the win.
Getting home late? The MyWelcome function allows you to turn your lights on remotely -- helping to keep you safe from potential predators, and fumbling for and swearing at your keys in the dark.
You can also program personalised configurations for when you want to leave a few lights on for security reasons.
Here's how it all works:
But what about efficiency when your place is literally lit?
MyLights utilise LEDs, which are almost 80% more energy efficient than halogens. And the MyEco function automatically dims your lights subtly, so you won't notice until your reduced power bill comes in. MyLights also run at a maximum of 80% to further cut costs.
This graphic from the Advantage Air website demonstrates the potential cost saving for dimming (left) as well as the differences between Halogens, LEDs and utilising MyEco (right):
Similar to MyAir, you can control your lighting through the MyPlace dedicated touchscreen -- or from your phone or tablet.
This may be the single greatest piece of home technology I've ever seen. The epitome of household goals.
Both a toilet and bidet, the Veil makes bathroom time an absolute pleasure. The motion sensor lid greets you upon approach, beckoning you to its heated throne.
If you ever have to leave (don't), a simple wave of of your palm will trigger the flush. If you forget, or are far too busy and important, it will self-flush within 60 seconds. It also self-sanitises and self-cleans, because we're living in the future.
And for those nights where you're stumbling around, looking for relief at 3am, its gentle bowl-light will guide you towards it. No more running hip-first into the sink.
The Veil also prides itself on energy and water efficiency. Despite all the bells and whistles, its only 12 volts and determines between and half or full flush by sensing the weight in the bowl.
As the below video states, the Veil is where art meets technology, and I can't disagree.
Heating systems are great, but there's something whimsical about having a fireplace. And gas-powered systems eliminate the need to go out into nature to chop wood. Plus you can turn it on with a remote control.
These can be installed in any home, because gas removes the need for a chimney. That also means less mess and reduced chances of Santa or Dick Van Dyke getting stuck in your roof.
If electricity is more your style, they can help you out there too.
Video doorbells aren't anything new -- but the Ring is particularly impressive.
When somebody rings your doorbell, the inbuilt motion sensors are triggered -- sending an alert to your phone, tablet or PC. You can then use the Ring app to talk to them from anywhere -- even if you're not at home.
That's right -- you can now bust your postie leaving the 'Not At Home' slip when you were in the kitchen.
It also has inbuilt infrared night vision, so you can keep an eye on your perimeter after dark.
The Ring's dual power option is handy if you don't have hard wiring for a doorbell -- you can make use of the rechargeable battery instead.
This is for those who hate food wastage and are trying to reduce their carbon foot print
The Smart Cara is a food waste recycling composter. You pop your food scraps in (including bones) and within 3 hours you will have dry, nutrient-rich flakes that you can use on your garden, pot plants or vegetable patch.
Even if you throw the remains out, you'll be disposing of matter that is 90% smaller than its original size and doesn't smell like a rotting corpse. This means less food waste going into landfill and creating excess methane -- which has over 20 times the global warming capacity of carbon dioxide.
3 hours is admittedly a long time to do a job, but it can dehydrate and grind up to 1kg at a time and is low on energy usage -- only 0.5 - 1kw, depending on the moisture content.
You can see it in action here:
Telstra is on a mission to transform your entire house into a Smart Home.
Lights. Locks. Cameras. Appliances. They can all be connected to the Telstra Smart Hub. This may be how Judgement Day begins, but the tech is so cool that it doesn't really matter.
Of course, you don't need to have all of these things. Maybe you want to turn the iron off remotely. Perhaps you just like the idea of Smart Bulbs. You can commit to as much or as little as you like.
You also don't have to shell out your life savings for new Smart Appliances. You can transform pretty much anything with a Smart Power Plug -- which can be safer and save you money.
No matter what your investment level is, you can control all of your smart home devices from anywhere with the Telstra Smart Home App.
If you're looking for ways to slash your hot water bill without giving up long showers -- this could be the answer.
Sanden claims to be able to save up to 78% of your electric storage hot water energy costs, which is huge. Instead of using electricity to heat the water in your tank, it absorbs heat from the air and transfers it into the water.
In addition to saving energy, this helps to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Sanden users save money by receiving the highest amount of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STC), of any hot water heat pump that's currently in the market. These can be used to discount the purchase price.
Getting paid to save yourself even more money in the long run? Yes please.
Inafrared Saunas for the home aren't anything new -- but they are looking like a more affordable luxury in 2017.
Although they still incur some initial investment, running costs aren't as steep as you may think. Claiming to be the best value infrared saunas in Australia, iHealth's offerings range from 1350 - 2200W and costs start at approximately 20 cents for 30 minutes.
The sizing options also allow for a variety of indoor and outdoor options. Even if you're working with a restricted space, you can still introduce a piece of heated, technological heaven into it.
If you can walk into your home at it has a sauna, you can probably say that you've made it.