Villa with digital house orchestra

The proportion of technologies in the house that can all be networked via an IP is growing by the minute; intelligent facilities technology is now a firm part of any modern electronics in the home or office. Networking components is necessary especially if the building generates the energy it consumes because the interconnections allow for efficient energy management.

The developers of a villa in Thuringia wanted precisely such an active house that used solar PV to provide the power. And they also wanted the ease of networked house controls that monitor and run all the technical components, including the entertainment electronics. The developers did not want to be constrained when selecting the individual components, such as lighting and sound systems. Using a Gira KNX system, all the necessary different systems were integrated, networked and made easy to use.
Running behind the facilities technology, the KNX System networks all the electronic components. The "Gira HomeServer" is the central control unit: It collects all the data and status reports, assesses them, and transmits logical commands.

The inhabitants can control all the facilities technology functions and the entertainment electronics using tablet PCs, Smartphones or permanent Touchpanels – the "Gira Control 19 Clients". If someone rings the doorbell, a photo is automatically stored (with date and time) on the "Gira HomeServer" and can be downloaded later. The garden watering system can also be controlled by a tablet PC. The ecofriendly drainage concept collects almost all the water on the roof, the patios and the plot in a cistern that can hold up to 50 cubic meters of water. In the bathrooms and basement, sensors detect humidity and if needed the ventilation automatically goes on. A ceramic heat exchanger automatically extracts energy from the warm waste air and thus pre-heats fresh air. And on leaving the house, simply press the "Gira Control 19 Client" in the corridor and turn off all energy sources in the house; the display also shows whether and where windows have been left open.

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A floating porch in elegant black glass marks the entrance. All photos © Ulrich Beuttenmüller for Gira
A floating porch in elegant black glass marks the entrance. All photos © Ulrich Beuttenmüller for Gira
The building stands on a south slope which is ideal for the solar PV system, which provides all the energy the complex requires.
On the patio, an inviting pool awaits potential bathers; thanks to the hydro-flow system it’s narrow. River gravel from the Danube cleans the water quite naturally, exuding silicic acid and rendering chlorine superfluous.
When darkness falls the lights turn on automatically wherever there are people in a room. And the users can set whatever light scenarios they happen to want.
A Sonos multiroom system brings music to all the rooms from a central audio source; the loudspeakers are unobtrusively housed in the ceiling. The central video output is handled by Censys. The KNX system was planned and programmed by the Elektro Geyer company.
In the bathrooms and basement, sensors detect humidity and if required the ventilation is automatically activated. A ceramic heat exchanger extracts energy from the warm waste air and pre-heats fresh air.
The ingenious technical solutions are unobtrusively integrated into the architecture because the client prioritized design.
The T-shaped footprint and the topography allow different relaxation spaces and zones right round the house. A cube with the private rooms protrudes from the main building toward the slope, creating a protected patio with a view of the garden.
On hot summer days or in the event of direct sunlight, the rooms are automatically shaded. In storms, the blinds automatically go up to protect them from damage.
The house by and large dispenses with switches: all functions are either automatic or can be controlled form the three large permanent Touchpanels, the Gira Control 19 Clients, – or used via an iPhone or iPad.
Gira Dual/VdS smoke detectors bring a sense of safety to the whole house. The product is very smart, combining a smoke detector both heat detection and the assessment of signals indicating scattered light. In other words, it detects smoldering fires but does not set off an alarm in the event of steam in the kitchen or dust in the air.


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