KNX delivers Westminster Winner with Smarthome Solution for Barrat Homes,

Integrator :  Design Innovation  -

Category :  Apartment


Smart home integrator and KNX UK member, Design Innovation, has completed an award winning KNX installation for Britain’s biggest house builder, Barratt Homes, at Great Minster House in Central London. Winner of the prestigious KNX UK Installation of the Year Award 2014, this project is a perfect demonstration of how state of the art audio, lighting, blind, heating, ventilation and comfort cooling control can be seamlessly integrated and automated using best in class KNX technology from different manufacturers to add value and offer future flexibility in prime property developments.

Located in the heart of Westminster, Great Minster House comprises 61 spacious studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses, with properties ranging in price from just under £1 million up to £3 million. High specification features, including magnificent high ceilings, parquet floors, terraces and a 24-hour concierge, abound on this impressive development. Barratt Homes called on Design Innovation to implement an equally high quality technology solution, initially for the first floor show apartment and concierge lobby area, which could be fully scalable for the rest of the development.   

Design Innovation selected KNX technology from five different manufacturers - including ABB and Theben - to provide the building control infrastructure.  The KNX system offers the capability for lighting, blind, heating, ventilation and comfort cooling control in every flat and is fully integrated with a Control4 system to provide seamless touchscreen access and control, and additional audio integration.

The development is fully KNX cabled so that any apartment can have technology specifically tailored to occupant needs from the day they move in. This ensures maximum flexibility for the home buyer, allowing them to personalise the level of technology and integration to suit their lifestyle and interior design preferences. They can easily choose to add different control elements and change functionality within their apartment, adjust finishes and designs of the push-button switches and, once broadband connected, add remote control and operation of the various technologies within the apartment.   

Once inside the building, residents are immersed in the sense of refined luxury which typifies Great Minster House. Using a touchscreen, the concierge can automatically control light levels and temperature over KNX, and also adjust volume and select tracks to breathe background music through invisible ceiling speakers into the opulent lobby space. Here, KNX controlled high capacity Theben universal dimmers, providing crucial control over the LED lighting to ensure maximum efficiency is achieved, whilst also creating a stunning visual effect.

When entering the show apartment, owners can activate a ‘welcome home’ function, triggering an initial lighting scene in each main living area, alongside the automatic playback of music. This function is mirrored by the ‘leaving’ action, implemented by a push-button keypad sensor next to the front door. All the ABB and Theben controlled lighting in the apartment switches off progressively from back to front, allowing any guests within the property to leave safely. These lighting scenes can be personalised to suit the individual’s lifestyle and taste. At night, cove lighting in the bathroom and toilet areas is automatically activated by discreetly located Theben Sphinx motion sensors for complete ease of use.

Homeowners also have the ability to set up their own DHW (domestic hot water), towel rail and heating and cooling schedule over an Android tablet that connects to the apartment’s KNX enabled server. Using the keypads, they can boost the short term operation of these systems as well as adjust the mechanical ventilation in different rooms in the apartment.  Design Innovation has ensured that the heating and cooling system will not operate in conflict to optimise comfort and energy efficiency still further.  All control functions within the show home are also accessible via a smartphone or tablet when inside the apartment.

With full integration to the AV system, Design Innovation has given the occupants in the show apartment access to 3 zones of audio, via installed invisible speakers in dining room, living room and bedroom. The system provides music streaming over airplay and Bluetooth and the facility to connect music via a line-in to the system.

“The KNX open standard allowed us to bring together the right equipment from a choice of different KNX manufacturers to provide the best solution for this project,” comments Nick Gale, Managing Director at Design Innovation. “The show apartment uses multiple manufacturers all working seamlessly together, and offers the flexibility of easy AV integration and end user customisation. Great Minster House is a great demonstration of the capabilities of KNX and its huge potential as an effective and versatile solution within multi dwelling unit developments.”

KNX is a simple system for intelligent electrical installation networking.  A KNX bus cable combines devices and systems and new functions can be easily added in the future as the needs of occupants change and extra functionality is required. KNX products are used to build intelligent integrated building control solutions for residential and commercial applications.  As a result, owners, residents, or managers of these properties have control over the everyday working or living environment.  This can cover all building services such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, security and metering as well as the operation of blinds, electrical appliances, windows, facades, AV/sound systems and many other functions.