Overlooking Werri Beach in Gerringong on the NSW South Coast, the Bunker House serves as a dream holiday home for the Hipwell family, and a dream rental for groups of up to 16 when they’re away. To provide the family and guests with simple, intuitive control over the home’s vast array of smart home technologies, integrator Ryelec turned to RTI.
2 x XP-6s Control Processor
3 x KA8 8-Inch Touchpanel
1 x RTiPanel Unlimited License
8 x SURFiR Companion Remote
1 x T4x Handheld Touchscreen Remote
RTI Case studies available in PDF format
Overlooking Werri Beach in Gerringong on the NSW South Coast, the Bunker House was built as a dream holiday home for the Hipwell family. Featuring a design inspired by mid-century architecture and local history, the aptly named residence resembles a concrete bunker with its sharp lines, floor-to-ceiling windows, matte black accents, and of course, concrete walls. Spread over three levels, amenities include seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, an ocean-facing pool, steam room, gym, large outdoor deck with built-in barbeque facilities, and the latest smart home technologies. Installed by integrator Ryelec, the high-tech highlight reel includes lighting, HVAC, security, irrigation, and floor heating systems. For entertainment, the home boasts a 13-zone wireless audio system, eight displays, plus a projector with drop-down screen. For control and automation of this amazing home, Ryelec relied on RTI.
When it came to control over the Bunker House’s technologies, the Hipwells’ top priority was ease of use. They wanted the ability to control every aspect of their home from one central location on each level — using an intuitive interface completely customized to their unique residence — while having local control over audio and video, lights, blinds, curtains, and AC in different rooms. With the family spending most of their time elsewhere, remote access to the Bunker House’s systems via an iPhone app was a must. And with their home destined to be a popular vacation rental available to rent for groups of up to 16 adults, a custom Airbnb Mode was required that would hide certain control features — like security systems and home automation schedules — from guests.
“The Hipwells had briefly considered using multiple apps for individual control of the Bunker House’s systems,” said Tom Ryan, director of Ryelec. “And while this approach would certainly have been cheaper, it would also have made it extremely difficult to control their home and virtually impossible to create the Airbnb Mode and other unique features they wanted. To do that required a control platform that matched power with easy customization, both in terms of functionality and the look and feel of the interface. RTI fit the bill with a platform that can bring any number of technologies together into one cohesive system, with a wide range of sleek and stylish interface options, and programming software that makes customization a breeze.”
Driving the Bunker House’s control system are two RTI XP-6s control processors. Taking advantage of their IP capabilities, Ryelec utilized two-way drivers for control of the home’s Denon® HEOS audio system; Clipsal C-Bus lighting control system; DoorBird video door intercoms; Elk security system; Hikvision PTZ cameras; Samsung displays; two Denon AVRs; and a CoolMasterNet HVAC system. To enable automation schedules and one-touch control modes, Ryelec incorporated Schedules and One Touch Button drivers from My Devices. A Pentair IntelliTouch pool control system and additional master bedroom AVR are integrated via RS-232, while the processors’ dry contact relays enable control over the irrigation system, projector screen, electric windows, and electronic and hydronic floor heating systems.
The Hipwell family and guests have a variety of options for interacting with the Bunker House’s technologies. Each level of the home offers a KA8 8-inch touchpanel with a custom interface featuring a full 3D floor plan of the home and real-time feedback on lighting, air conditioning, and AV systems. Users can tap on any room to access a pop-up layer of quick control options, and then swipe across for high-level control of each system. The home’s systems can also be accessed locally or remotely via the RTiPanel app running on an iPhone. Additional control is provided by eight RTI SURFiR companion remotes located throughout the home, while a T4x remote with 4-inch capacitive-touch screen is located in the upstairs lounge.
With RTI Integration Designer programming software, Ryelec was able to easily create a number of custom control features for the Hipwells, in addition to the Airbnb Mode. These include three additional house modes — Home, Going Out, and Away — which can be activated via a long icon press on a KA8 touchpanel or iPhone. Home Mode enables all internal schedules — such as common area lighting, air conditioning, and floor heating — and sets a Welcome lighting scene at night. Going Out Mode shuts down non-essential components like displays, the audio system, and lighting, while keeping internal schedules running so the house remains comfortable. Away Mode shuts down all indoor systems and disables all internal schedules; arms the security system; and initiates the Perimeter Security function for the PTZ cameras. With this function enabled, if the motion sensors on either of the DoorBird stations are triggered, the cameras will aim in the direction of the motion, security lighting will turn on in that area, and the alarm siren will chirp for one second. To maintain the Bunker House’s garden while conserving water, the irrigation system is scheduled to water every zone in sequence for a set time every other day, while automatically pausing the watering cycle on rainy days. To save energy, whenever the air conditioning is turned on in a zone, the zone’s electric windows automatically close.
“This was a huge project with some really sophisticated control features, and RTI made it look easy,” added Ryan. “The Hipwells were floored by the simplicity of the system, and the fact that they can control all aspects of the Bunker House from a single app or touchscreen, while keeping all other systems out of sight for a clean look. The ability to access their home remotely has also been a big hit. They love being able to pre-heat the pool or adjust the temperature before coming home for the evening or monitor CCTV feeds and manage the garden watering schedule from anywhere in the world. And this level of control is a big selling point for renters as well, who would much rather spend their vacation relaxing than trying to learn these sophisticated systems.”
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