The northeast winters can be brutal. Even if you enjoy outdoor winter activities, there is nothing like that first sign of spring to build excitement around spending more time outside in the warmer weather.
Gone are the days of blasting the music from within the house so you can hear it out in the backyard. Today there are numerous options for creating the perfect backyard entertaining space that blends the indoors with the outdoors.
For any great party or gathering music is one of the most important ways you can ensure people are enjoying themselves. From mounted, all-weather speakers attached to the house, to a packaged landscape speaker system designed to look like flood lights and blend in with your landscaping, to speakers that look like rocks – the options are practically limitless. A properly designed speaker system should be heard and not seen in your backyard entertaining space.
You have had your annual friends and family BBQ scheduled for weeks or maybe months in advance. You had no way of predicting your favorite sports team was going to be in the make-it or break-it game of the season at the exact time of your party. In the past, you would have to take off your ‘entertaining hat’ to run inside to check the score periodically. Now, you have the option of incorporating an outdoor television into your backyard space’s design, so you don’t have to miss the Grand Slam nor your cousin’s story about his recent trip abroad. Whether the television will be in a covered outdoor space or in direct sunlight, the televisions are manufactured to withstand the elements and provide a great picture without any sun glare.
Motorized insect screens
It’s a beautiful night; light breeze, warm weather, perfect for dining al fresco. Unfortunately, while you are enjoying your food outside, the pesky bugs are dining on you. That’s no longer a problem with motorized insect screens. At the push of a button, the outdoor lounge becomes an enclosed space, so you still get the enjoyment of dining outside and not have to pour on the bug spray in order to do so.
It’s a hot summer day and the pool water is cooking. Lower the temperature without having to visit the mechanical room. Integrate your pool jandy with your control system and control your pool and hot tub right from any of your smart devices.
Your afternoon BBQ is going strong. Everyone is enjoying themselves and then the sun sets. With just one spotlight off the back of the house, your guests feel like it’s last call at the bar and start to say their goodbyes. If the backyard space was properly lit, the party could easily continue into the night. Up lighting on trees & bushes, lighted walkways, and flood lights located within the landscape can help keep the fun going without skipping a beat. Lighting isn’t just for entertaining either. A properly lit home exterior can also help deter criminal behavior and keep your home safe.
You’re laying in bed and you hear a noise outside. Is that an intruder or is it just an animal? Before the panic sets in, grab your iPad and check your surveillance cameras. You see it was just a racoon trying to get into your garbage. You make a mental note to double check the garbage cans are properly secured in the morning and you gently fall back to sleep. Surveillance cameras can provide peace of mind and give you an extra sense of security whether you’re home or traveling.
There are so many ways to take your outdoor spaces from ordinary to extraordinary with the proper planning and expertise. Are you ready to take your outdoor living to the next level? Contact us to learn more about how we can help you design the ultimate backyard oasis.
We have been fortunate to have had another great year with Lutron Electronics. We are proud to announce our continued Elite Diamond Dealer recognition by Lutron through 2018. In order to achieve this status, an Elite Diamond Dealer has to spend upwards of $750,000 in a given year with Lutron. The spend can be on anything from lighting control parts to motorized window treatments, high-end LED fixtures to HVAC controls.
We would not have been able to achieve this status without the continued partnerships with the design build community and our clients. To all our architect, builder & designer partners and our clients, we thank you for the privilege and opportunity to work with you.
Take a moment to think about the space you are sitting in. How does it make you feel? Do you feel productive and energized, or are you feeling relaxed? Now, take a moment to look at the lighting in the space. How does the color of light appear? Is it an amber, warm glow or more of a white, bright light like daylight? How many fixtures are in the room? Is it a combination of fixtures such as in-ceiling downlights, wall sconces, table and/or floor lamps or is it one primary source of light? Would you consider the space to be adequately lit?
A well-lit space that enhances the environment and mood incorporates multiple layers of lighting. These layers include general lighting of a space, known as ambient lighting, task lighting providing ample lighting to achieve a task, focal lighting to draw attention to a specific feature or architectural element, and decorative lighting such as a beautifully crafted chandelier dangling in the grand foyer.
Additionally, energy output and dimming controls contributes greatly to the way a space is illuminated and how it can be manipulated. In today’s world of lighting, light emitting diodes (LED) light fixtures have made significant strides in supplying energy-efficient light sources. More and more projects are required by state and local codes to include a portion of LED fixtures within new construction projects.
A contracted lighting designer is trained to meet code requirements and design a well-crafted lighting design plan for residential construction. As Home Technology Professionals who specialize in sophisticated lighting control systems, we work closely with lighting designers to ensure interoperability between designated light fixtures and the lighting control system.
We recently connected with Rachel Calemmo, co-founder of Christian Rae Studio, and accredited LEED® and NCQLP Lighting Certified professional, and asked her a few questions about the importance of contracting a lighting designer and lighting control experts early on in a project. Here’s what we Rachel had to say:
Q [IEI]: To start, when a person is building or renovating their home, what would you consider to be the most important aspects of lighting to understand and be aware of in a lighting plan?
A [RC]: I came to the field of lighting design via interior design. For me, one of the most critical factors is visual acuity. This means rendering the colors and finishes in the space in a way that makes them come to life. I use light sources that have the highest color rendering index (CRI) possible and select a color temperature of the light that will complement the colors and textures in the space.
The lighting should also support the activities in the space at any given time. This means not only using the appropriate light sources, but also layering the light and varying the controls to suit the activities by time of day. Daylight provides bright, blue-rich light in the early morning to deliver an alerting signal as we wake up – but exposure to that same light at night can keep you up at night, and can make you feel groggy or irritable the next day. In the early evening, daylight provides a warm, low-level light to cue our bodies for a period of rest.
Circadian rhythms can be supported by using dynamic lighting features that LED lighting technology offers. It puts us in a position where we can now create personalized lighting to mitigate circadian disruption, optimize mood and visual experience, and improve our sense of wellbeing, in better ways than ever before.
Using these tools to design an overall lighting scheme makes our spaces feel more natural and comfortable places to live, dine, work and rest.
Q [IEI]: With so many manufacturers and light fixtures available in the marketplace, how does a lighting design help guide fixture specifications for a project and prove compatibility with a lighting control system?
A [RC]: Compatibility is the most critical factor in ensuring a successful lighting design. LED lighting requires more planning and coordination than any previous system of illumination. In order for LEDs to function properly, they need dimmers and drivers that speak their language so they do not create flicker, popping, strobing, early failure or dropping off. This level of specification is best done by partnering with lighting designers and integrators that can narrow down the wide range of fixture options and select the best possible fixtures that will not only complement the architecture and interior design, but will function smoothly.
Q [IEI]: What do you see as the core benefits of LED lighting over other technologies?
A [RC]: I am very excited about the benefits that LEDs offer us as designers and consumers because while they save us a tremendous about of energy and minimize maintenance, they also allow us to create more dynamic lighting environments. LEDs provide us more control over the tone of our white light while also allowing us to supplement with color. Now, we are not only restricted to one wall color in a space, but can dial up any color of a room by a flip of a switch or a voice command, if we so choose. Technologies such as warm-dim LEDs can mimic incandescent sources, while tunable white allows us to set our lighting to a schedule that matches the tone of daylight to enhance the circadian rhythms I mentioned earlier. RGBW (Red, Green, Blue & White) LEDs lets us play with all the tones of white light along with vibrant and pastel colors all coming from one fixture. LEDs have opened up a world of possibilities.
Q [IEI]: Why is it important for lighting designers to partner with lighting control system integrators early in the design and planning phase of a project?
A [RC]: As mentioned earlier, LED lighting and its control goes hand-in-hand. The vision of a design can only be realized when the proper fixtures are selected and coordinated between the architecture and the controls system. The process works best when a team of designers and integrators are communicating throughout the design and specification to be sure the project goals are being met and the end user will have a space that is comfortable, intuitive and easy to maintain.
Q [IEI]: How does a lighting control system integrator complete a lighting designer’s vision?
A [RC]: In order to take full advantage of the benefits LED offer, controls integration is key. The ability of our lighting to be personalized and intuitive is controls-based. In order to have smooth dimming to a low level in intimate spaces or to follow daylight rhythms in our living spaces, requires complex scheduling and controls. These complex lighting scenes can be quite simple for the homeowner to use once the proper integration and planning is in place. This is why it is critical to not only have the proper fixtures selected by the designer for look and feel, but to have it controlled and programmed by the integrator to have it function to its full potential. We work as a team with the end user to create spaces that have benefits from well-being to visual acuity and enjoyment of our built environment.
About Racel Calemmo LC, LEED®, AP
Lighting Designer, Rachel Calemmo, orchestrates light, color, materials and space to create visually appealing environments which ease the demands of modern life and rejuvenate the soul. An Interior Design graduate of Philadelphia University, Rachel engages all aspects of project design, construction, and management. Her commitment to the total design experience led her to specialize in lighting. She earned the Lighting Certified (LC) designation after successfully completing the NCQLP Lighting Certification Examination. Her technical skills enable her to complete each design challenge from conception to final installation; resulting in projects representing a broad range of scale, scope, and budget consideration. Rachel is also a LEED® Accredited Professional who designs each project to a high standard balancing aesthetic expectations and energy efficiency due to the important role energy consumption and cost plays in an overall building life cycle.
About Christian Rae Studio
Christian Rae Studio, LLC was established in 2010 as collaboration between Rachel and Christian Calemmo. Christian is a licensed architect in Connecticut and New York. Rachel is an interior designer and certified lighting designer (LC). She is also a LEED accredited professional. Our firm is located in Southport, CT and we have worked on projects in Connecticut, Westchester County, New York City and beyond. Our combined technical and creative skills enable us to complete each design challenge from conception to final installation and our project types represent a broad range of type, scale and budget considerations. Each of our projects is unique. Therefore, we focus our attentions on listening to our clients so that we can deliver a product that is not only beautiful and functional but also tailored to your specific needs and requests. We insist on providing detail and quality that is evident through our drawings and project management. The collaboration between multiple disciplines in our studio is an approach that results in a holistic and integrated project. Our goal is to make the design process a thoroughly enjoyable experience for our clients.
Calling all design-build professionals. Are you interested in being featured in one of InnerSpace Electronic Inc.’s Q&A Spotlight sessions? If so, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.
It was a crisp November evening in Plantsville, CT as home builders, architects, designers and contractors gathered at the Aqua Turf Club for the 25th Anniversary HOBI Awards gala. The event is presented by the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut (HBRA) and recognizes design-build professionals projects incorporating the best products and services in a variety of categories including new home construction, remodeling, commercial construction, land development, sales, marketing and finance.
From left to right: Peter Fusaro, 2017-18 HBRA Board Chair & President; Barry Reiner, President & CEO InnerSpace Electronics; Andrea Reiner, Co-founder & CFO, InnerSpace Electronics; Jennifer LaBollita, Director of Sales & Marketing, InnerSpace Electronics; Gina Romanello, Sales & Marketing Manager, InnerSpace Electronics; Chris Nelson, 2017-18 HBRA First Vice Chairman & VP.
This year was a special time at the event for us; we were honored to be named the 2018 Best Home Technology award winner. The project we submitted for was a lovely home in Greenwich, CT that included a full Savant home automation system allowing ease of control over a whole-home music system, a video distribution system, an intercom phone system, a large Lutron lighting control system, motorized window treatments and outdoor insect screens, thermostat controls, a high-quality Wifi network system, and a property surveillance system.
In true collaborative fashion, our project management and engineering team worked closely with the project architect, builder, electrician, lighting designer and other trades leaving no detail untouched and enabled us to deliver a reliable, user-friendly smart home with remote management capabilities giving the homeowners overall peace of mind, enhancing the quality of life.
BEST HOME TECHNOLOGY CATEGORY ADDED TO PROGRAM
The Best Home Technology award category was originally introduced into the HOBI award program in 2017, however, 2018 was the first year a winner was selected. The addition of this category showcases the demand of home technology controls emerging into the build process. Partnering up with a low-voltage electronics contractor earlier in the design phase of a home build or renovation ensures the home is adequately wired and designed to support these systems.
CONNECT WITH A TECHNOLOGY EXPERT
With over thirty years delivering beautiful, sustainable and intelligently connected homes and a service staff to support and increase the longevity of a system, we are a partner to rely on. To see images of this year’s event, please visit the HOBI Award Gallery or see the list of winners here.
To learn more about our services or to speak with one of our design professionals, contact us here.
Many facets of life require a foundation to build upon. In the professional world, education is the foundation to developing success. In construction of homes and buildings, a sturdy foundation is necessary to support the infrastructure. Our roadways are developed with a foundation to support traffic. The foundation is the first step in achieving results and the mission at hand.
Similarly, as technology advances and as more and more devices in our homes and our personal lives require internet access, a robust home network is necessary in order to support bandwidth, speed, and proper coverage. In the home a network is the foundation to protecting data, supporting multiple electronics and multiple streaming devices being used concurrently, and provide the necessary coverage to avoid dropouts or slower connections. Additionally, as devices continue to be introduced in the marketplace as smart home enabled, a thoughtfully engineered home network will scale to support the increase in connected home devices.
Gone are the days when it was safe for homeowners to leave their doors unlocked when they were on or off premise. Today would you leave your door unlocked for anyone to have access to enter? Think of your home network as a similar entry point for intruders. An unsecured network easily allows hackers as well as curious neighborhood children/neighbors to enter your home and get access to all your personal data and private information. It’s exactly like leaving all your doors unlocked.
Separating your guest network from your primary network is good practice to improve security. This means that your guests can share your high-speed network but have no access into your primary network. Basically, like giving them a key to the guest house instead of the entire house.
Imagine this scenario. You’re watching a movie on your favorite video streaming service, music is streaming in the kitchen and dining room as dinner is being prepared, the kids are upstairs one is playing video games, the other relentlessly searching the internet working on a research paper. You’re running an unmanaged network with one Wifi extender upstairs and often the music skips out, the video pauses while it downloads more of the content, the video game cuts offline right when they were about to get to the next level, and the internet is just slow and taking forever to load. Don’t allow this to happen to your family.
The demand for bandwidth continues to grow quickly, as new devices continue to enter the home. This combined with concurrent usage by all occupants means that upgrading your networking equipment will significantly improve speed and overall performance.
Networking gear that fails to take advantage of 5GHz or more recent standards such as IEEE 802.11ac or 802.11ax is outdated and can be the root of poor performance and slower upload/download speeds. If your network is an unmanaged network, a simple addition of a controller will greatly improve performance. Keeping your equipment updated through firmware will also ensure you’re running the most current versions.
Separating traffic on your network into multiple ‘virtual’ networks can synchronously improve performance while improving security. A solid network will segment multiple networks within your main network to allow each system to essentially operate off their own network, therefore causing less disruption across all your devices when they are being used simultaneously.
Have you ever noticed that as you walk around your house, your Wifi signal becomes weaker or drops off completely in certain locations? It’s due to a lack of access points that allow you to carry the signal throughout the home. In a home with multiple levels or walls that can lessen signal strength, proper location of wireless access points will help to carry the signal throughout the home. Intelligent access points communicate with your portable devices and switch your device’s Wi-Fi connection to the closest access point based on your location. It eliminates the guesswork and frustration of reconnecting to the home network.
Equipment also plays a role in providing adequate coverage. Old, dated equipment is often operating on older technologies, and signal strength is not as disbursed in range as newer gear. A simple and less costly solution can be to add more access points, and update firmware.
Future-Proofing and Maintenance
Investing in your home network is a logical step in future proofing your home setting it up to support new technologies that are designed to make our lives easier. You want a home network that can easily be upgraded, provides security and data protection, and presents seamless coverage to ensure peace of mind and greater usability.
Counting on a professional to not only install your home network but to also maintain it will make your investment go even further. As network professionals we are trained to provide system updates, maintain and remotely manage your security settings, troubleshoot to resolve any issues prior to you becoming aware, and keep you educated.
At InnerSpace Electronics our commitment is to engineer secure and reliable networks. Our team of network specialists are highly trained and have earned multiple certifications on networking best practices.
If you’re unsure of where your network stands or if it’s time to upgrade, take this quick questionnaire.
It’s that time of the year when people tend to reflect on the year soon to pass in anticipation of setting goals for the new year. Where did we succeed? What could we have done better? What special moments and milestones were celebrated?
A company shares in the same reflections as any individual. While we are eager to move into a new year abound with new goals, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on 2018. Here are 5 of our most notable moments from the year:
We celebrated our 30th birthday
They say thirties are the new twenties, and boy are we thriving! In 1988 founders Barry & Andrea Reiner formed InnerSpace Electronics, Inc. This year marked our 30th year in business as Home Technology Professionals delivering innovative solutions that improve overall quality of life within the home. A huge shout out goes to our loyal and trusted clients and partners that not only supported us this far but have enabled us to continue to grow and expand around technology in the home. Read more about our company here.
To remain relevant and stay ahead of the curve in an ever-changing technology landscape, it’s imperative that we keep our talent well-educated and trained in all the latest technologies. This year we invested across many different areas of our business through vendor and industry-related training programs.
On-Staff Lighting Designer
In support of our lighting division expansion offering lighting design services and selling and specifying light fixtures, Elizabeth Quisgard in our engineering department achieved the American Lighting Association (ALA) Lighting Specialist certification. It encompasses every aspect of the residential lighting industry, including industry trends, technology and technical developments.
We also enrolled our engineering team in the Vantage Lighting Controls certification program to maintain and develop their skills with this control system. Expanding our knowledge of another lighting control platform enables us to offer multiple options matched to client / project requirements.
Raising best-in-class technicians and installers
As a requirement, all our technicians are required to participate in training through the industry-accredited Maverick Technical Institute, certifying those who wish to pursue a certificate as a Low-Voltage Technician (LVT). This program offers hands-on classroom training of proper installation techniques raising qualified installers with a strong background in A/V and low-voltage electronics. By putting our technicians and installers through this program, we are ensuring you are getting best-in-class technicians with the skills and experience mitigating your risk for careless installs, messy racks, and weak business practices.
Growth through new hires
Thanks to our continued success, we’ve been able to scale the business accordingly and add new members to our team roster in our sales, operations, and IT departments. These additions bring unique skills that enhance our business goals and we look forward to seeing their impact in the new year.
For many years we’ve been designing and installing lighting control systems. It was only natural for us to start specifying and selling compatible light fixtures that are focused on the future of LED lighting. In order to become an authorized reseller vendors typically set extensive requirements such as volume minimums, product training, and demo equipment orders that need to be met. This year we focused on adding the following brands to our product portfolio:
DMF Lighting manufacturers high-quality LED light in a small, affordable package. Available in a wide range of trims, color temperature, lumen output, and dimming capabilities, this brand is an innovative solution outside of your traditional housing cans, with all the necessary ratings.
Ketra is focused on flexibility and simplicity. Recently acquired by Lutron, they offer full-range color options, human-centric lighting programs to match and enhance circadian rhythm, high output and beam spread options, and a variety of aperture and trim options.
Finire and Finire Prime extend a variety of apertures, trims, and color temperatures. Known for their dimming performance, they are compatible with the Lutron Eco System driver, and come in multiple beam spread options.
USAI Lighting is known for high quality, high performance fixtures. With many options available to meet various installation scenarios, these fixtures come in a variety of color temperatures, with a variety of openings and finishes.
We’ll be hitting the road in 2019 educating on the various fixture types available to the design-build community. Contact us to sign up for our lighting demo to learn more about the newest in LED technology. We bring lunch to your office! Learn more about our lighting division here.
We strive for continued excellence. Our partnerships are built on collaboration and communication. Our project management skills maintain accountability and ensure we deliver results. Many of our projects are noteworthy homes designed by leaders and innovators in their respective trade. Vendor recognition, and support of the design-build community keeps us all working with a shared mission – to deliver outstanding forward-thinking homes. Here are our leading awards for 2018:
Lutron Excellence Award for Best Use of Lutron’s High-Performance LED Fixtures
Partnering with the project architect, builder, lighting designer and client we delivered an award-winning Lutron QS system comprised of 330 Ivalo Finire fixtures and earning us the 2018 Lutron Excellence Award for Best Use of Lutron’s High-Performance LED Fixtures.
As members of the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Fairfield County (HBRA), we were ecstatic to learn we were awarded the Best Connected Home award. The technology component of their award program is in its second year, which speaks to the growing support of partnering with technology experts at the design stage to deliver award-winning results. The winning home was built on collaboration with multiple trades, and a leading builder in the marketplace.
Industry Affiliations and Dealer Status Updates
HTA is a new association designed to connect homeowners, and design-build professionals with integration firms. We met the extensive qualifications of the Estate certification, the highest designation to be received. This association is built around three pillars: Technical Competency, Aftercare Service, and Reputation. Partnering with a HTA Certified installer guarantees they are skilled at the level your project requires.
We are once again recognized as a Diamond Elite Dealer with Lutron based on our 2017 sales volume. A Diamond Elite Dealer must meet volume requirements over $750K within a fiscal year. In order to achieve this volume, our team from sales to engineering needs to be extremely proficient with their product line and technical requirements. We are proud to commit to and support a leading brand of lighting controls, and motorized window treatments.
As Savant dealers for many years, we continuously maintain their requirements to meet the high standards of a Gold dealer. A Gold Savant Dealer has at least two years of Savant experience and additional certifications for advanced features and area lighting control.
One thing we can lookback and takeaway from 2018 is our investment for continued growth and excellence. Our partnerships with the design-build community and client relationships look to us as subject matter experts in the realm of home technology. It is imperative that we maintain thought-leadership to continue to drive value, innovation, and solutions that supersede expectations.
We have some high ambitions set for the new year and look forward to enhancing our relationships through education, collaboration, and service. Thank you to all our loyal partners and clients for a successful 2018, and we wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019!