By Duane Pahl

As technology moves more into our personal lives and our homes, going “smart” will also make us go “green.” Even better is when prices start coming down so that we can use these technologies more and more. You can purchase most of these “smart” items online, and hopefully on Guam soon.

If you’re a new homeowner or someone who’s looking to make improvements to your current home, you may be looking for an answer to the question “What is a smart home?” Put simply, “smart home” refers to any number of automated ways the systems present in your home – from lighting to security to outdoor sprinklers – can be configured to run automatically, and in some cases, even controlled remotely via the internet from anywhere on the planet.

Integrated systems

Home automation systems integrate electrical devices with one another. The systems controlled through home automation are sometimes connected to the home’s computer network, letting homeowners control them remotely from their computers or mobile devices.

The main system categories controlled by home automation are lighting, security, HVAC and outdoor sprinkler systems, although there are many other uses for home automation, including pet feeding and landscaping devices.

Systems that control lighting often operate on a timer, so that some or all house lighting turns on or off at pre-set times. The greatest benefit of lighting automation is energy and cost savings, but automated lighting may also be viewed as a security benefit, since a well-lit house may be less of a target for criminals.

Widely available and relatively affordable, home security systems can be integrated with an existing whole-house automation system, or they can operate independently. They offer varying levels of complexity, from simple detectors that monitor door and window security to complex combinations of motion detectors, closed-circuit and online cameras.

Your home’s cooling systems can also be controlled via home automation, often with significant energy-saving benefits. Homeowners can regulate cooling in their entire homes or in individual rooms or zones, and create a temperature schedule. For example, if you mother-in-law from Dededo wants to come and stay with you and she loves her room very cold, then you can “automate” from your mobile phone or pre-set temperatures for her space only. Literally, pretty cool!


Outdoor sprinkler systems are also often offered as part of home automation and control, as they eliminate the need for unsightly and ineffective standalone sprinklers or time-consuming manual hose watering. They can even be adjusted to respond to weather changes automatically, ensuring more watering during dry stretches and shutting down to conserve water during periods of rainfall.

Convenience, cost, time savings

Home automation and control systems offer tremendous benefits of convenience, cost and time savings. Depending on your budget and the needs of your home, an integrated whole-house automation system or a series of standalone systems may be the right choice. Regardless of which approach you choose, it’s likely you’ll see immediate returns both economically and in terms of increased free time.

We have a very exciting future ahead of us all!