How They Did It: Integration on a Large Scale

Feb 09, 2015

These clients expected a home with full distributed audio and video, a theater room, full lighting and shade control, and integration of all subsystems as well as a large backup generator.

Station Earth executed this large-scale project without a hitch, all while paying close attention to the minute cosmetic details that put the polish on the final integration. Their work earned the Level V Silver Technical Design award for Integrated Home in CEDIA’s 2014 Electronic Lifestyles® Awards competition.

IH L5 Silver 2014 Living Room

Client’s Needs: 

In addition to distributed AV, a home theater, and lighting/shading control, this project called for integration of HVAC, pool/spa, security, fireplace control, gate control, and water feature control. Remote access to all integrated systems was paramount given the client’s busy work and travel schedules. Ease of use and intuitiveness were also part of the main directive.

The System:

The system consists of:
  • 231 lighting, fan, and motor loads
  • 51 motorized window treatments (21 roller shades, 21 Roman shades, and nine drapery tracks)
  • 24 HD security cameras
  • Full security system with two partitions and 50 zones
  • 23 HVAC zones
  • Humidity monitoring
  • Temperature monitoring
  • Gate control
  • Garage door control (eight doors)
  • 23 zones of video
  • 25 zones of distributed audio
  • Full anamorphic theater room

Control of this large residence is available from strategically placed in-wall and valet-style touch panels as well as the client's smart phones and tablets. Lutron keypads are located throughout the home and feature lighting scenes and local shade control. All equipment is housed in three large racks in a dedicated conditioned rack room as well as in structured panels (both network and Lutron enclosures) throughout the home's five mechanical rooms.

IH L5 Silver 2014 Media Room

Integration & Automation Highlights:

Station Earth was able to integrate items rarely seen in a residential application. The onsite 300kW, diesel-fired backup generator serves the entire estate and feeds every circuit in the 600-amp service in the event of a utility grid failure. Station Earth was tasked with the integration of the feedback and status from the generator, which was to be available on any control interface while at home or from anywhere in the world. They designed an interface that gives real-time feedback, warnings, and email alerts. They also monitor and take feedback from the automatic transfer switch. 

The home network consists of three VLANs: one for the VOIP phone system, one for the 24 HD camera system, and one for all data traffic. Enterprise-class layer three switches and a managed wireless LAN controller were also used in the network and WiFi implementation. 

In the theater, a press of a hidden button within the front millwork motorizes open a concealed door to reveal the showstopper: three equipment racks levitating off the floor, held on a custom-made cradle that motorizes back and forth when servicing or upgrading is required. The cradle glides on steel I-beams, held in place and riding on the same wheels that are used on rollercoaster tracks. The overhead I-beams are welded to structural steel bolted into the home’s foundation and adjacent walls. 

IH L5 Silver 2014 Theater

All the wiring for the home’s automation system and theater is cascaded into the hanging rack assembly on industrial cable management cat tracks to prevent binding or pinching when the rack assembly is moved back and forth. 

The bar area design called for a completely hidden large screen TV. Working with specialists, Station Earth designed and built a masterpiece of engineering that hides the TV fully when not in use. (Learn more about this solution here.) 

Full control and feedback is available from the home’s 23 HVAC zones. Real-time humidity feedback was critical given the amount of exotic wood used throughout the home on floors and cabinetry. Email alerts are generated if humidity falls above or below set parameters. 

Station Earth custom built an interface for pool and spa circulation pumps, temperature settings, lighting, pool waterfall, spa jets, and spa temperature. The home’s outdoor landscape water features are also fully controllable on the system. As per the client’s expectations, these controls are accessible and addressable from anywhere. The driveway loop sensor is tied into the system and chimes through all speakers in and around the home when a vehicle approaches.

IH L5 Silver 2014 UI

Hidden Technology:

At every avenue during this project, the technology was balanced with the aesthetics. During the pre-wire phase, all low-voltage wire that ran in or through attic space was run in suspended metal cable trays. In the five mechanical rooms, all wires were run within a closed wire trough and piped through metal conduit to the lighting panels to eliminate exposed wires.

IH L5 Silver 2014 Rack Front

The indoor pool room features an array of Lutron roller shades, three of which span the entire rear wall with the largest shade measuring 10 feet wide by 26.5 feet high. Station Earth’s concern was future serviceability as scaffolding was used during the install, but would not be available after occupancy. The team designed three stainless steel enclosures with a winch system to house the shades above the pool room’s stucco valances.

IH L5 Silver 2014 Pool

If the need for servicing arises, Station Earth can drop any one of the three stainless housings that contain the roller shades without unrolling the shade itself. Each carriage has a 400-lb. winch capacity, and the carriage can be lowered to floor level and the shade can be removed without the use of a ladder. When the carriages retract into their valances, they follow guide blocks to ensure alignment and repeatable accuracy. 

In addition to the hidden bar TV, televisions are hidden throughout various rooms of the home. In the upper loft, an LED TV is concealed behind a Media Décor motorized painting. In the ensuite, His and Hers mirror TVs appear when desired above each sink. An outdoor TV keeps guests entertained on the patio.

The elevator has its own zone of audio that plays actual recorded elevator music. Almost all speakers throughout the home are Invisible. Stealth Acoustic speakers were chosen for their ability to reproduce a broad frequency range while being heard but not seen. 

Trufig outlets in all marble backsplashes are faux-painted to match the surrounding marble. Even more Trufig outlets were veneered to match the surrounding exotic woods. All in-ceiling HVAC supply and fan grates are done with Trufig for clean lines.

Project Partners:

Home Technology Professional
Station Earth
Fergus, ON Canada

Craig Frede

Sonnarc Custom Homes
Waterloo, ON Canada

Interior Designer
Home Settings
Ontario, Canada

Specialty Consultants

Barber Glass
Guelph, ON Canada

Parker House Furniture
Alma, ON Canada

Mackia Land Design
St. Agatha, ON Canada

Trade-Mark Industrial Inc.
Cambridge, ON Canada



CEDIA blog posts are intended to provide general information and should not be regarded as legal opinions or advice.

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