People who inhabit and visit the houses and homes we live in come in all shapes and sizes. They range in age from infancy to old age with a variety of ever-changing abilities and skills. Housing needs change for all of us as we grow-up, grow old and welcome new people to our homes. A home that is designed and built to reflect the principles of universal design is safer and more accommodating to everyone who inhabits or visits it, no matter what their age or physical ability.
The philosophy of universal design is that your home should be comfortable, pleasant, safe and usable by everyone in your family, be it your children, you or your spouse, aging parents or a relative with a disability. The use of technology and automation can help create living spaces that are convenient and energy efficient, minimize the potential for accidents and result in a house that is able to adapt to life’s changes — whether caused by changing family composition or the changing abilities of family members.
Using Technology in the Home
Devices originally designed for people with disabilities are found in every home. The remote control was originally developed to help people with limited mobility control their environment. Today remote controls are used by everyone.
Home automation now being developed for the general consumer market provides even greater benefits to people with physical, sensory and mental disabilities, allowing them to live more independently.
What is Home Automation?
Home automation systems, or smart home technologies, are systems and devices that can control elements of your home environment — lighting, appliances, telephones, as well as home security, mechanical, entry and safety systems. They can be used to improve safety, expand usability and make life easier for people of all abilities.
Home automation systems can be operated by electricity or a computer chip using a range of different types of switches. A simple device, such as a light, can be activated by a signal from a motion sensor, or can be lit as part of a computerized home automation system.
What Can Home Automation Do?
Home automation can:
- Increase your independence and give you greater control of your home environment
- Make it easier to communicate with your family
- Save you time and effort
- Improve your personal safety
- Reduce your heating and cooling costs
- Increase your home’s energy efficiency
- Alert you audibly and visually to emergency situations
- Allow you to monitor your home while you are away. For more information on Home Automation and related topics, read full CMHC article…