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A COOLER SHADE OF GREEN


A beautifully discreet, connected home system for a striking, new-build eco-property in North-West London from integrator James + Giles has emerged as the winner in the Best Integrated Home Under £100,000 category at the industry’s blue-ribbon event, the CEDIA Awards 2014. The scheme’s judges declared the project which seamlessly controls audio-visual, lighting, security and energy management systems in the property for convenience and comfort as the most impressive they’d seen, “a solution which integrates everything - tech, architecture and great interior design.”

James + Giles’ client for this project wanted the latest technology to meet the demands of modern family life, complement the minimalist interior of the property and help meet the low energy credentials required for a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) home. This challenging brief was ably met by James + Giles’s with a winning specification combining KNX technology integrated with Control4 to provide a ground-breaking level of control, embracing HVAC, lighting, security, intercom, solar shading and audio-visual distribution with the minimum of fuss and intrusion. 

“The client was keen to retain the home’s Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 and BREEAM Eco-homes rating of ‘Very Good’,” says Giles Sutton, Director of James + Giles. “Our cost-effective system successfully manages the chief low energy features, including the heat-recovery ventilation, heating and solar-shading, alongside lighting, security and home entertainment.”

In an open plan house, built as a series of split-level floors and with such a clean aesthetic, concealment of the technology was extremely important. Most of the walls and floors are made from solid concrete or glass, so embedding the cabling and technology was either impractical or impossible. 

The James + Giles solution made use of a ‘chimney’ running through the core of the home which  provided the ideal location for the service run of cabling and HVAC components, as well as providing handy storage space for the family. In the main living space this central core also houses a discretely positioned flat screen TV, and behind a detachable acrylic panel, a soundbar and subwoofer, which blends with the panels when not in use. The screen is future-proofed, in that upcoming Panasonic models are guaranteed to fit the current frame size if the family opt to upgrade. 

A close collaboration with lighting designer, Firefly, produced an energy-efficient and visually stunning lighting scheme, controlled by KNX using a range of low voltage dimming methods including the DALI protocol (more often associated with commercial projects). This bus-based system also removed the need for multiple, complex gateways and interfaces. With its distributed intelligence, the KNX system offers greater reliability than a centralised lighting system and required fewer controls. The integrated combination of thermostat and lighting switches are a key feature of the KNX system, as they control both temperature and lighting with a different sequence of buttons and no need for separate temperature sensors. 

The downstairs family media room features a projector, facing the discrete white wall ‘screen’, and accesses Blu-ray, Sky and various networked audio sources. The room is also used for entertaining, parties and live music, with its integral bar area, drum kit and piano. 

In the media room, and around the house, James + Giles has ensured the technology is readily adaptable for the future. Along with the green roofs and rain-water harvesting, the company has installed cabling for a weather station to allow for more energy saving options.

Using KNX, James + Giles maximises the home’s slow energy features to help achieve its BREEAM rating. With Control 4 remotes and the app, the client can operate all the sub-systems in the house from touchscreen, iPad or phone. Meanwhile, a discrete plant room is home to the technology hub which stores equipment alongside the KNX/Control4 managed HVAC system.

With all this high-quality technological performance and energy efficiency, melding so perfectly with the superior architectural design, it is no wonder the client is delighted with his new green-meets-cool home. This project delivers a fantastic future-looking home and is a worthy CEDIA Awards category winner.

James + Giles
0207 250 10010207 250 1001

Kit List – 
Air Conditioning IR Control Unit
Axis 4 Channel IP CCTV Encoder
Control4 7" Touchscreen
Control4 8x8 Matrix Amplifier
Control4 HC 800
Control4 Remote
Control4 TV Controller
Denon TU1800 DAB Radio
Flush Mount Bracket
Focal Dome Speakers
Focal Speakers
Furman PL8 Power Distribution Unit
Gira Audio Door Station
Gira DALI Interface
Gira E22 Double 13A Socket
Gira E22 Media Outlet Plate (M1/M2)
Gira E22 Series Keypads 
Gira E22 Series Rocker Switch 
Gira E22 Single 5A Socket
Gira E22 Standard Media Outlet Plate (M1/M2)
Gira Homeserver
Gira Power Supply
Gira Switch Actuator
Gira Video Control Device
Gira Video Door Station with Pin Entry
Gira Video Home Station
Gira Weather Station
Hager 16 x Switching Actuator
Hager 3 x 1-10V Dimmer
Hager 3 x 300W Universal Dimmer
Hager Wall Mount DIN Enclosure
Humax Freeview Receiver
InFocus SP8602 Projector
Just Add Power HDMI Distribution System
Leon LCR Speaker
Linn In Ceiling Speakers
Middle Atlantic ERK Rack with Castor Base
Middle Atlantic Wall Mount Rack
Netgear Network Switch
Netgear ProSafe Access Point
Onkyo AVR NR906
Onkyo BluRay Player BD606
Panasonic 50" Plasma Monitor
RBH A615D In Ceiling Speakers (pair)
RF Distribution System
Samsung LCD TV
Synology 2Bay NAS Enclosure
Theben 6 Channel Manifold Controller
Velodyne SPL-R-1200 Subwoofer
Xvision CCTV Camera