How They Did It: Jewel Box

Oct 26, 2015

This homeowner's main goal was for Défi Technique S.A. to create the most eco-friendly and technologically advanced house in Switzerland. They requested the use of both active and passive systems for energy creation and storage. Défi Technique S.A. installed technology, which would work with eco systems in the property, including the solar panels.

This project won Défi Technique S.A. the Best Energy Management Solution Award in the 2015 CEDIA EMEA Awards.


The homeowner was the main concept architect for the project and gave a great deal of information about the general concept. He wanted to use both active and passive systems for energy creation and storage. Where the house has solar panels in the west facade which orient with the warm afternoon sun and on the roof to capture the full day. The facade panels also function as solar blinds to keep the secondary facade clear of any significant solar radiation.

The green walls and the garden are fed water from a 50m3 reservoir built between the pool and the house which is filled by drainage water and recycled grey water. It also functions as cooling water for heat sensitive areas in the house. The house has been certified Minergi ECO, which is the Swiss equivalent of the LEED rating system and the award signifies the highest standard for a sustainable building in Switzerland.

All these systems are linked via a bussystem that becomes the heart of the building feeding into all domains. For example, the irritations system is driven by the GIRA home server and coupled to a rain meter and humidity sensors in the substrate is be able to accurately water the walls and roof when water is really needed.

This can all be set via the GIRA portable interface either by the client or his designated gardener. Same thing goes for all the different systems of the house. Everything has been tailored so that anyone who interacts with the house will have a the right parameters fed to her/him. However, nothing is really evident with big screens on the walls or even command screens, everything is hidden or placed in such ways that it has been dissimulated into the background. If there is a screen it has been reduced to the minimal functionality for that specific place.

All the switch gear has been taken from Basalte and is multi touch and can therefore perform multiple functions such as opening  electric windows and setting up themes for lighting all on the same switch plate. Nor are there any visible TVs, only projectors and screens where the window blinds have also been synchronized to block out the excess light if needed. This all in the interest of the homeowner, who was not interested in the technology talk as much as letting it play a discreet visual part and allowing the architectural concept to unfold in front of the participant.

It was important that the house could be followed and managed through the homeowner's portable devices and still be secure. So there was a great deal of detailed work on how to keep the systems secure from intruders, such as automatic deactivation of any outside WiFi spots when the alarm is turned on.

In tern each person that interacts with the house can be managed on an hourly bases or cut completely by the owner, with a simple press of a button – a new account can be introduced almost as easily. The homeowner wanted to make the system as intuitive as the underlying software would allow so that they would not need to have significant support from the vendor unless asked for.


The solution provided is the synthesis of years of experience in ElectricalDomotics,
IT and Audiovisual technology. The key of the success is the capacity to deal with all the technologies within the same company although it gives a high pressure because of the result awaited by the client and also having the responsibility to provide a perfect fully integrated solution.

The solution was provided using Crestron and Gira touchscreens capable to manage KNX electrical devices, HVAC, CCTV as well as audiovisual equipment and fireplace.

Basalte Sentido switches and Deseo room controllers are the "easy and sensitive feel" interface between the user and the scenarios.

Multi-room audio system is based on Basalte matrixamplifiers (B&O OEM icepower amplifiers) controlled over KNX with iDevices and touchpanels. CobraNet is the IP protocol used to carry the audio signal allover the building giving a maximum of routing flexibility.

There are more than 200 circuits of light most of them controlled via DALI, binary in and outputs to seamlessly interface lawn and vegetal wall watering, alarm, pool jets, blinds and solar slats, analog inputs to get information from high grade hygrometry, temperature, wind, humidity, luminosity sensors, RS232 interfaces for RFID modules integrated into each cars to automatically control gates and garages, IP over fiber optic for long distance runs dedicated to invisible waterproof CCTV view-able in and away from the property.

The system also includes RFID door access, gate access and automated garage doors with every commands and status available on mobile devices.

The media room is fitted with an electrical screen, the projector is dissimulated in a robust and precise Weibel electrical lift, 5.1 audio comes from a Bose 525 system fully controlled by a Crestron App over a mini iPad, light scenes are automatically adjusted according to the selected mode. Available sources are BluRay, Apple TV, CATV and Sky over IP.

Because some consumer devices like settopboxes do sometimes need "reboots", a cycle procedure is designed to help the system supervisors to fix a problem within a minute remotely. A monitoring service is also actively checking every device to detect and fix any issue before the homeowner knows it exists.



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

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