Monday, August 1, 2011

Apartment Automation

As I'm settling into my new apartment - alone on my own for the first time - there are a few things I'm getting used to, albeit slowly. Things like making sure my "lockout-proof" door is locked when I leave for work, making sure my thermostat is set properly (read: OFF, I want to maintain a lean electric bill), and my lights are off when I leave.While the AC and lights are simple financial issues, the door is a serious security problem. If I don't lock my door, it'll be open my entire work day, making all of my fantastic new apartment furnishings fair game for anyone else in the building. This has caused me (in paranoid fits) to go all the way back to the door after getting in my car to leave.

All of this has made it very clear to me some kind of automation system would not only be a fun project, it would be a worthy investment in terms of both reducing bills and increased peace-of-mind. However, a Google search for "home automation apartment" yielded nothing promising. This seems to be a niche area that isn't covered by the home automation / DIY market. Which makes it interesting.

My ideas for this project involve completely non-invasive methods of monitoring and/or controlling the following key (to me) areas:
  1. Non-fixtured lighting (i.e. - anything I plugged into an outlet, not wired into the building's electric).
  2. Thermostat
  3. Room/apartment intruder detection
  4. Security monitoring / activation
Some of these things are simple. Some of them are probably out of my reach. Especially since the unstated requirement for all of this to be wireless. Since I can't seem to think of a better project, I think I'm going to try to take this on piece-by-piece. Any collaboration/help is greatly welcomed.