CES 2011: Somfy Tahoma Energy Controller

Somfy, the maker of motors and controllers for window coverings, both interior and exterior, is moving beyond windows to automating all the lighting and heating/cooling elements of your home, and they’re aiming to do it in a way that’s simple enough for the least geeky among us. The product – announced for introduction at the Consumer Electronics Show – is called TaHomA, which, if you didn’t catch it, stands for total home automation.

“Accessible from a computer, iPad or iPhone within or outside the home, TaHomA’s user-friendly Web-based interface guides consumers with intuitive graphics and step-by-step prompts as they personalize their home energy functions,” the company said. “TaHomA is a robust yet low-maintenance system that allows users to easily choose their level of involvement – as needed, when needed.”

Home automation, Z-Wave, Somfy

image via Z-Wave

How’s it work? As Somfy explained it, the TaHomA controller operates with Z-Wave enabled light switches and dimmers, thermostats, motion sensors and Somfy RTS controlled motorized window coverings, such as blinds, shades and awnings.

The company spun a fetching scenario to describe the system in action: “A common scene might call for window shades drawn to 50 percent, lights in the kitchen to be automatically turned off, and the thermostat set to energy savings mode every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the house in unoccupied.  Then, at 4 p.m., window shades will be closed, lights will automatically turn on to 75 percent, and the thermostat will be set to a comfortable temperature, as household members arrive and become active in the home.”

Somfy said the TaHomA will be available for purchase in the first half of 2011, but no price was given.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.