In our previous article, we covered the top three technology trends and applicable building codes for new smart homes. Today, we’ll discuss additional smart technologies that are trending with home buyers.
Distribution and storage components for a new solar roof fall under the domain of interconnected electric power production sources. Such equipment isn’t necessarily connected to the electric grid, but it does operate in parallel with it.
Article 705 of the 2020 NFPA® National Electric Code® (NEC®) details how to make safe interconnections of grid and off-grid equipment. Article 706 subsequently defines classifications for renewable energy storage systems, where they are to be located, and how they are to be used. For a smart home to be made ready for renewable energy, local inspection authorities also need to see that its service/bus ratings are sized accordingly.
Most existing homes have smart products that fall into this category. For example, there is a proliferation of smart TVs, smart speakers, and gaming consoles — all which can be programmed to their users’ specific preferences.
Category 5e and Category 6 are often used for audio and video applications, while 16 AWG, 4-conductor cables are used to connect smart speakers and other audio applications. As of now, no building codes apply to this category, but UL® tests smart entertainment products so they connect seamlessly, perform as featured, and function safely.
Kitchen and Laundry Appliances
Although available, smart home appliances have not seen widespread adoption as originally anticipated. For example, only 1 percent of U.S. consumers have a smart refrigerator and just
5 percent of U.S. consumers say they plan to buy one.
The smart appliance market appears to have stalled partly due to price. A high-end, Internet-enabled refrigerator costs two to three times that of a standard unit, not counting its wiring. Another, and arguably the biggest, reason why there isn’t a strong demand for smart appliances is that they don’t live up to expectations of integration with other smart devices. Furthermore, they only seem to add another screen to peoples’ homes.
Despite there being a small niche market for smart appliances, their product standards are expected to evolve and adhere to California Title 20, ENERGY STAR ratings, and UL tests for product interoperability and cybersecurity. As with entertainment systems, building codes do not apply to this category.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Systems
Beginning in 2015, California Title 24 required all new home construction to be wired for Level 2 vehicle chargers. By ensuring new home starts come prewired for EV charging, the code streamlines the process of installing a charging station at a later date.
In many areas, contractors are required to submit a site plan for permit approval prior to installing a charging station. Contractors must also comply with state and national codes and regulations that cover safety requirements for charging stations, specifically the 2019 update to Title 24 and Article 625 of the 2020 NEC.
Whole-House Surge Protection
Often overlooked by smart home buyers is whole-house surge protection — and this technology is something all homeowners, even those with existing homes, should consider purchasing.
Whole-house surge protection safeguards all electrical devices from surges caused by nearby lightning strikes, motors (HVAC equipment, appliances, garage door openers), and lights switching on and off. Article 230.67 of the 2020 NEC requires that all new homes (smart or otherwise) have a Type 1 or Type 2 surge product installed to protect sensitive electronics and safety devices like hardwired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Type 1 surge products are permanently connected devices installed before a main disconnect
and can withstand higher surge currents up to 200 kA. Type 2 surge products are permanently connected devices installed after a main disconnect and are used in combination with breakers and fuses. Type 2 surge products are capable of withstanding surge currents up to 108 kA.
We’re Your Home for Smart Home Products and Support
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