This automated house’s climate control goes way beyond a smart thermostat

great gulf active house control climate exterior
A house that can control its own climate sounds pretty amazing as we suffer through what may be the hottest year on record. While smart thermostats like the Nest do some of the work, it would be far more effective if the entire structure was helping out.

That’s the idea behind the Great Gulf Active House. Controlled by the Somfy TaHoma smart house system, skylights, windows, and blinds all react to the weather to make the internal climate as comfortable and energy-efficient as possible. When the house needs to let off some steam, it opens the skylight and a few windows. If it’s hotter than 77 degrees Fahrenheit, windows automatically shut and the air conditioner turns on. The homeowners can also program when the blinds should open and shut, so the sun’s rays don’t overheat the house.

The 3,200-square-foot home has a thermostat on each of the three levels, so they can be set to different temperatures based on where everyone’s spending the afternoon. It also uses renewable energy and less fresh water, thanks to its rainwater cistern. Because of all the skylights, suntunnels, and windows, the house needs very little lighting help from lamps during the day. A greywater heat-recovery unit uses the warmth from showers and baths to raise the temperature of cold water as it comes in. To cut down construction time, energy use, and building waste, the designers used prefabricated wood panels. It took only a week to complete the framing.

The Ontario, Canada, smart home was built by Great Gulf, in collaboration with architecture firm superkül and the Active House Alliance, a European organization that creates efficient dwellings. “We see them as concept houses, except we’re building them for the real world,” Christopher J. Wein, Great Gulf’s president, told Dwell. It’s already working on a second house in Toronto, so pretty soon Canada could be full of climate-controlled houses.

Product Review

Glas may be gorgeous, but this spendy thermostat is no smarter than the rest

A stunning OLED screen tops the prettiest thermostat we’ve reviewed in years. But GLAS lacks the brains required to justify its premium price. Read more about it in our full review.

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.
Smart Home

Wynd’s new air-purifying bundle lets smart home owners breathe easier

Wynd is already well known in the tech industry for its popular Kickstarter-backed air purifier and now the company is launching two new products designed to improve air quality to inform smart home owners.

Here are the best Amazon Echo and Google Home deals for Black Friday

Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers compete head to head when it comes to smart home tech. Whether you're a fan of Alexa or Google Home, we've found the best prices on your favorite smart home devices.
Product Review

You don't need Alexa in your microwave, but you'd be surprised what she can do

Amazon has added to its long portfolio of products with the AmazonBasics Microwave, a small appliance that works with Alexa. We took the microwave for a test drive to find out more.
Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…

Xfinity indoor/outdoor camera zooms in on Grinch’s faces and license plates

Comcast's Xfinity Home security cameras can help the police catch Grinches who steal delivery packages from your home. The cameras use artificial intelligence to analyze moving objects and zoom in on faces at your door and license plates.
Smart Home

Airbnb hosts are offering free rooms to those displaced by California wildfires

Several thousand Airbnb hosts in California are opening their homes to help those displaced by the devastating wildfires in the state. Free accommodation is being offered to those affected through November 29.
Smart Home

Here's our comparison of the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View

Looking for the right smart display? We're comparing the Lenovo Smart Display vs. JBL Link View, two excellent smart displays that are made for different audiences. Here's what you need to know about both displays and what they do.