Posted: Nov 19, 2017
How SMART is Your Home?

SMART homes. Energy efficient. Advanced security. 24-hour monitoring. Allows you to lock 'n unlocked doors, turn lights on and off.  To know when the milk is getting old.  The dog needs walking, aquarium fish need feeding or diapers need changing. Perfectly waters and fertilizes yards and gardens. Heck, you won't even have to flush (or jiggle) the handle anymore. Your castle among the all-and-evermore encroaching internet-of-things.  A new word has even sprung up to define the concept - Domotics.  Multi-functional devices that save you time and energy so you can - ahhhhh -- do whatever else there is to do.

How is Key West making homes SMART?


Two utility agencies operate in Key West; Keys Energy for electricity and Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) for water. Are there initiatives in either of these two agencies for the adoption or initiation of SMART homes?  From my phone calls - not so much.  The SMART initiatives I found for the agencies are so far limited to:


1.  Keys Energy -


  • Rebates.  When you replace an appliance, air conditioning compressor or similar high draw item, Keys Energy offers a Rebate based on the Energy Star rating of the item.  Please call Keys Energy at 305.295.1000 and ask for Customer Programs. Explain that you want to initiate a Rebate and the agent will guide you through the forms. Each appliance must be separately listed to optimize the Rebate.
  • Consumption. Keys Energy does not utilize a kilowatt monitoring program where there are "off peak" periods that charge lesser per kilowatt hour.  Other markets use such a rate structure as an inducement for customers to run, for instance, washers and dryers in the evening when the 'draw" and corresponding rate, is less.
  • Use rate.  Oddly, the more kilowatts you use, the less you pay per kilowatt hour. Such as, if you use 1000 kilowatts you pay $143.58.  If you use 2000 kilowatts you pay $271.75.


2.  FKAA -


  • Monitoring.  Many areas in the Keys, and most of Key West, have water meters and reporting systems where water usage can be monitored remotely.  At the most basic, your meter is read by the "meter reader" as he/she drives by your water meter. You too can read your meter. BUT. The administration to do so is a bit cumbersome. First, Go to Select Resources, Select Self-Service. Select View My Meter. In order to view use rate, which is broken down into day and hour so you could discover exactly when a pipe burst or when someone left a hose running, you must have both your Meter number and Account number.  Why not just billing name and address? The phone number for FKAA is 305.296.2454.
  • Rebates.  FKAA does not offer Rebates for using water saving devices like low-flow shower heads, water saving toilets and the like.
  • Reclaimed Water. FKAA does have an active reclaimed water program in the Big Coppitt and Duck Key areas. These non-potable waters meet guidelines set forth by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and are a safe and cost-efficient alternative for conserving freshwater.
  • Use rate. After your base fee, the cost per 1000 galloons in Key West is a shocking $6.05! Peanuts! Maybe this is why so many residences and businesses wash their sidewalks and driveways.

Water Conservation

Buoy Water Monitor

Among the many tools to manage your water consumption is a device that can also tell you WHERE the leak is occuring and allows you to shut off the water main - no matter where you are.  A bit pricey at $700 but if you travel much or are a second home owner this device could save you a bundle.  Called the Buoy it was born of necessity during Califormia's recent prolonged drought.


Buoy attaches to a home water line and connects to Wi-Fi. As water flows through pipes, the system uses machine-learning algorithms to identify whether the water is going to a shower or sprinkler or washing machine. If there’s a leak, an app connected to the system gives the homeowner the option to shut off water remotely and call a plumber.

Home Security

The two most important factors to consider when choosing a home security system are reliability of equipment and quality of service. Principle elements of a robust security system are; door sensors, window sensors, glass break detectors, motion detectors and smoke detectors. The two main security companies in Key West are:


1. Barnes Alarm Systems - Fire Protection and Integrated Surveillance and Security Systems

2. Protection Plus - Environmental, Security and Video monitoring systems


Both Barnes Alarm and Protection Plus offer the latest in Closed Circuit TV, remote monitoring with fire/police communications and environmental management networks.  All these systems provide you optimum peace of mind.

The Mother of SMART Homes

Control4 Weekly Chart

The #1 rated company in the area of SMART Homes is Control4 (CTRL).   The Salt Lake City-based company recently hit an all-time high of $34.10.  For the 3rd Qtr 2017, CTRL earned an adjusted 35 cents a share, up 35% year over year, on sales of $64.7 million. The company's 2013 initial public offering was considered to be the first pure-play home automation IPO.


Control4's home automation systems have been likened to an operating system for the home. The company develops a branded line of products and services to control home lighting, multi-room audio, and HVAC systems that utilize communication protocols such as ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Z-Wave. Control4 also supports more than 8,000 devices from third-party manufacturers.


The closest authorized Dealer for Control4 is Innovative Technology Solutions.


Control4 monitoring tools


Innovative Technology Solutions is located in Key Largo.  As an authorized dealer in the Control4 team, Innovative Technology Solutions provides the Design, Pre-Wiring, Installation, Programming and Maintenance for your Control4 system thereby providing a continuing presence for software updates or added functionality. They provide the set-up prior to construction and fine tune the finish after the primary contractor(s) is/are complete.


Nearly 60% of home owners in the Old Town area of Key West do not live year 'round in Key West.  These second homes and investment properties comprise a significant portion of the portfolio for many of these owners. For many owners; care takers, landscapers, pool maintenance and year 'round neighbors keep a watchful eye. But not without the occasional error.


A SMART home can keep your home physically secure, energy efficient and operating at peak performance, assuring you peace of mind whether you are swimming in your pool on William St. or hiking the Adirondacks.


If you have any coments or questions, please contact me here.


Good luck!


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