December 4, 2009
As we learned from homeowner Kimberly Lancaster in yesterday’s post on green home building, you don’t have to sacrifice cool technology and slick amenities to maintain energy efficiency in your home.
Specifically, even your home theater can save you money and decrease your carbon footprint, as evidenced in a space created by HTSA (Home Theater Specialists of America), a consortium of the top 60 custom systems integrators.
HTSA was recently asked to create something special for a builders spec home in the Philadelphia area. “It was a natural transition for us,” says Director of Training David Berman. HTSA has earned its reputation with high-end projects, but in this case decided to turn their attention to something that is quite affordable to a large percentage of homeowners.
By adding four solar panels that are tied to the inverter that is directly connected to the main power, the home theater system is supplied with approximately 300 watts per day, with an average of 21,000 or more watts per year, which means that it can run for 20 or more hours on solar power. (This is based on an average of 4 hours of usable sunlight per day in the Northeast). When the grids are not in use, they return power to the grid–the power company buys back energy, which is then applied to offsetting other energy usage in the home.
David also confirms that in addition to solar energy, a combination of the right equipment in the theater system, such as a Control 4 or Crestron remote control system, combined with a Lutron lighting control system, can result in even more energy efficiency. For around $30,000, you can create a home theater that includes these systems, in addition to a high-quality screen and chic leather seating.
While consumer electronics comprise one of the top three energy drains, David says that people really don’t understand how to shop for and find the right equipment. “This is not something you can find at Costco,” he explains. “But when you enlist the help of a systems integration specialist, this is the kind of thing they can do for you.”
Since creating the theater system for the spec home, HTSA has sent 23 associates to solar school certification training, so that they can make this kind of project available to more people. While certain logistical hurdles still exist in some areas (in the state of Florida, for instance, solar panels can’t be placed on the roof because of hurricane codes), the systems are more attainable than ever.
You can see the building process for the spec home theater in HTSA’s video Guiltless Green Home Theater.
Photos by Jay Greene Photography