The comfort of KNX

Comfort and ease of use are the top priorities here, where KNX meets Basalte. Amy Wallington looks at how the two come together to fulfil the brief.

At the top of every homeowner’s priority list is comfort, ease of use, and style. Surprisingly, these things do not always come together as easily as they perhaps should. In this instance, a KNX protocol has laid the foundations for an easy to use smart home, with Basalte adding to the user friendliness and style.

A family home in Rotterdam, this luxury villa consists of many different areas, including large bedrooms, a big kitchen and living room, a home office, two guest houses, a gym, bar, cinema, and outdoor pool. With different members of the family using the system day to day, along with guests and house staff, the systems installed had to be simple and user friendly. Another important aspect was that they were personalised to individual users.

Recommended by the electrician already on the job, Dutch integrator, Villa Elektra, was called in to carry out the work on the new build home. Discussions began to build up an idea of what the family wanted from their new home and what inventory would be used to give them the best possible solution.

“The trick is to keep the control simple and consistent.”

Martin van Barneveld, director of Villa Elektra says: “The brief was very simple: the house had to have home automation to make it a smart home, but it also had to have the highest level of luxury possible with an eye for design and comfort. Comfort was very important. Music was also a big part of the requirements, so the sound had to be of extremely high quality throughout the property. The homeowner also stipulated that the complete house control had to be available from anywhere in the house on touchscreens as well as available on a mobile phone for remote control while not home.”

He adds: “Ease of use is always a key requirement from any customer, especially in villas such as this one where almost everything is linked and automated. The trick is to keep the control simple and consistent.”

Many smart homes rely on the complete control of the user, and homeowners often prefer to keep it that way. However, in this case, the client wanted everything to happen automatically to the individual user’s preference without having to actually do a lot. For instance, an e-key finger scanner is installed at the front door which will not only let the resident into the house without needing a key, but it recognises who the resident is and changes everything to their desired preference.

“The residents come home and open the door with their finger and the alarm system is automatically switched off, the lighting scenes are activated depending on the individual’s set desires, the curtains open, and their favourite music will begin to play,” Van Barneveld continues. “The Basalte Asano multiroom KNX music system will recognise if the garden doors are opened and will automatically set the music to play outside too in a multiroom set up without the user having to tell it to do so.”

Furthermore, when the alarm is switched on, the house goes into ‘Away’ mode and everything that needs to be switched off is actioned automatically.

To ensure simple control while creating an elegant design, Villa Elektra installed multiple Basalte Ellie touch panels and Basalte Deseo switches throughout the house for easy and quick control of lighting, curtains, audio, and video. The Basalte platform also gave the integrator more freedom to programme personalised scenes.

“The biggest advantage to using Basalte visualisation products is that the systems communicate well via the KNX protocol, which is the international standard that forms the basis for the complete automation of this home,” explains Van Barneveld.

Being in Rotterdam, climate control was an important part of the project. Underfloor heating has been installed which uses a ground source heat pump and air conditioning units have been concealed in the walls of most of the living spaces. Both the heat pump and air conditioning units operate through a gateway with two-way communication with the KNX system to provide automatic climate control. Van Barneveld reveals: “A KNX-controlled weather station ensures precise control of the climate system, but also controls the blinds in the home. Further to this, it enables an automatic garden system based on the level of humidity measured and the weather forecasts.”

The audio and video installations were highly important and included speakers in almost every room in the house, hidden in ceilings and walls so not to ruin the interior décor. There are certain areas where the AV has been given some more attention compared to other places, for example in the gym and the home cinema room.

“This integration also allows them to check whether the sauna is at the right temperature or not.”

Again, simplicity and ease of use takes precedence with a remote control in the cinema room, used to operate the AV. With the press of just one button on the controller, the lighting dims, the projector comes down and turns on, the speakers start playing music, and so on, thanks to the seamless integration with the KNX home automation protocol.

Another clever feature is that the sauna, steam shower, jacuzzi and swimming pool are all fully integrated in the KNX home automation protocol. “If residents want to go into the sauna, steam shower, swimming pool or jacuzzi, they can turn it on from whichever room they are in using the touchscreens, or they can simply open the pool deck,” he defines. “This integration also allows them to check whether the sauna is at the right temperature or not before getting ready to go in.”

The homeowners have stated that the install has exceeded their expectations and the integrator has now been asked to add the new Basalte Miro remote controls soon for extra comfortable control options.


Tech Spec

Apple iPads

AudioControl Concert AVR-9 Home Theatre AV Receiver

AudioControl Bijou 600 Compact Zone Amplifiers

Basalte Asano Multiroom KNX Music System

Basalte Deseo Switches

Basalte Ellie Touch Panels

Basalte KNX Core S4 Home Server

Basalte M3 Music Receivers

Basalte M4 Music Receivers

Basalte P4 Music Receivers

Basalte S4 Music/Home Automation Server

Basalte Sentido Switches

E-Key Finger Scanners

Future Automation Projector Lift

Gira KNX Home Server

Gira Presence Detectors

Gira S1 KNX Module

KEF Ci100QS Uni-Q 2-Way Square Ceiling Speakers

KEF Ci130QS Uni-Q Square Ceiling Speakers

KEF Ci160CSDS Thin-Bezel Square Ceiling Speaker

KEF Ci160QS Uni-Q Square Ceiling Speakers

KEF Ci200QSB-THX In-Wall Subwoofers

KEF Ci200RS-THX Uni-Q Square Ceiling Speakers

KEF Ci3160RL Speakers

KEF Ci3160RLB-THX In-Wall Subwoofers

KEF Ci4100QL Speakers

KEF Ci5160RL-THX Speakers

KEF KASA500 Amplifier

KEF LS50 Speakers

KEF Ventura 6 Outdoor Speakers

Origin Acoustics

Panasonic 4K Blu-ray Player

PeaKNX Touchscreen Mini

PeaKNX Touchscreen Pro

Samsung TVs

Screen Innovations 5 Series Fixed 120” 16:9 Slate Acoustic Projection Screen

SIM 4K Projector