How to improve your indoor climate with an autonomous smart window and shutter

The days are clearly getting darker and cooler so my bed feels like a great safe sanctuary in the mornings and I'm greatfull for the heating that turned on.

I notice one difficulty in those darker colder days: I dread to open the window. Whereas in summer we leave the windows open for hours easily, I  am not much in the mood to let the cold into my dark room...and not ready to run up in the morning rush to close windows in time again or watch the rain radar. Even though I know very well that we spend 90% of our days indoors and that our indoor climate is very important and is very dependent on the availability of fresh air. Our indoor air quality tends to be 5 times more polluted indoor compared to outdoor. That's rather shocking no? A great part of our health is impacted by the indoor air quality.

But at least some of that is solved since this summer. Through my employer, I had the opportunity to become an early ambassador of VELUX Active, our relatively new climate control product.  VELUX automated roof windows (solar energy or electric), can be controlled by your smartphone.  But additionally the VELUX Active algorithms use sensors to continuously monitor the temperature, the humidity and CO2 level indoor combined with outdoor weather data.  Based on that, and your settings,  it will control your windows by opening and closing autonomously and lowering if needed your sun awning blinds on the outside and / or lower indoor blinds.  You can also disable the algorithm any moment or during periods of the day as you wish, and then you can simply control your windows and accessories remotely with your smartphone, (and Apple Home and Siri). 

We didn't have automated roof windows yet, but you can get solar motors to automate centre-pivot windows afterwards. Unfortunately we have top-hung windows in the children's rooms that cannot be automated (yet?).  So only our roof window on top of the hall stair case came into the picture.   My brave colleague came to help us with the installation...Yikes, I appreciated my safe office job behind a desk a lot more. Maybe it's worth to consider an automated window right from the start, next time ;)


So once that's done, I could start the installation of the VELUX Active pack. The set-up is guided via the app on your smartphone. Once the gateway gets connected to your WiFi network, the app will search and connect available VELUX products on its own (windows, indoor blinds and outdoor shutters or awning blinds).

As of that moment, if you activate Active Control to manage your windows,  the app will open the windows at least once very 3 hours if weather permits (they will NEVER open if it rains and I also learned that storm winds are a no go as well).  In summer the windows were open for many hours but now tempuratures are lower, that is more limited since my settings don't allow the indoor temperatures to drop too much.  As soon as it is a sunny day, the outside shutter will close partially to prevent the indoor hall for heating up too much.

At first it is very weird and a bit uncomfortable to allow an algorithm to control your windows but once you are used to it, it gives so much peace of mind.  I must admit that for 8 weeks now, we've not touched the window anymore at all.   It just does what it thinks it needs to do within the time limits we have set and I love it.  A few times a day I get messages on my phone (because I allow that notification) that the shutter opens or the window closes or ... and I can consult the temperature and other sensor measurements at any moment. 

So is this the big miraculous thing now?  To be it isn't.  It all depends on your house: automating one window in a house with 4 stories, isn't going to change the indoor climate too drastically.  At the end of the summer we had a heat wave and our house still overheated again...thanks to the large unprotected windows in our living room among other that suck up all heat and let if flow up to our top floors where it gets trapped. 
In order to truly prevent overheating, we need sun protection for the lower windows and we'd need to automate the boys bedroom windows as well for a starter. On the other hand, heat waves need night cooling but I'd not recommend to algorithm to take over during the night time in a bedroom for the simple fact that you'd wake up from the recurring opening and closing of the window.  It does make a sound each time it opens or closes.  So I just open the automated window at night by a manual command and trusted the rain sensor to close it if necessary.

So is it just a gimmick? Not really. If you live in an apartment under a roof with many roof windows I think it would make a huge difference on your indoor climate. 

For us I do notice more fresh air in our house. I sincerely notice that I tend to close up my windows too much for too long and we are not even in winter yet.  We are lucky to be able to profit from the stack effect that a window on top of a staircase can bring. As soon as I open a window on a lower floor as well, it allows a nice ventilation flow throughout the house.  And that does make our indoor climate healthier.  There is a reason that our PEB norms talk about insulation but also about ventilation. You can't have/do one without the other.   But it would be more worthwile if we could combine it with more windows. 


Els said…
sounds quite cool actually, I do believe automatic can improve our way of living

Popular Posts