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Wired for Conservation

Smart Homes Save Energy Dollars

There are resounding benefits to smartening up your home with energy-saving technologies.

As the demand for "smart" audio/video systems continues to grow, JMG Audio Video in Upper Saddle River is ready to answer the call.

Owner, Jason Santlofer, has been in business for over 22 years. He started by taking apart his mom's microwave as a kid and never looked back. Having worked with several electronics companies over his career, he decided to open JMG in 2009.

"I was drawn to this business and picked it up rather quickly," says Jason. "My brain thinks pretty logically, so the work comes easy to me. When I hire a new employee, we start the training by teaching how to pull wires. This helps people learn about the infrastructure by understanding what wires affect the television or the blinds. If you learn this from the beginning, it makes it easy to figure out how things work together."

Homeowners look to Jason and his team to advise and install whole-house audio and video systems which integrate music and video capabilities into one, easy-to-use system.  JMG also installs home theater systems complete with the latest in audio and video components. Business is on the rise as more and more families are interested in entertainment options that allow for relaxing safely at home without traveling or COVID concerns.

I haven't been inside a commercial theater that sounds as good as our home theaters do," says Jason. "When a room is custom-tailored to accommodate 10-12 people, it makes a drastic difference."

A big attraction to the smart home systems is their cost- and energy-savings features. Lighting and HVAC control systems provide significant energy savings and increased security by allowing the homeowner to preset schedules. Depending upon your budget, systems can be activated by the time of day and season, or they can be equipped with a photocell sensor. Sensors will drop the shades to reduce heat buildup during the summer months or raise them to invite the sunlight and warmth during the winter. This is especially beneficial for large homes with many windows. "Closing and opening shades can make a big difference in your energy bill," says Jason.

Shades can be preset to automatically open and close to effectively control sunlight to prevent harsh UV rays from damaging expensive furnishings, rugs, and artwork. An energy management system allows you to monitor and control the air conditioner's energy consumption, lights, and electronics. Even more than just managing what you are using, you can also monitor the energy created by your solar power, solar thermal, or hydrogen fuel cell.

Alarm sensors know when the homeowner is home or away. If set in "away" mode, lights will be dimmer, and room temperature will be adjusted. When someone arrives home, lights will brighten, and room temperature will reach optimal comfort levels.

"Twenty years ago, these systems were a rarity. Now it's very commonplace, and homebuyers are expecting these types of features in new homes," says Jason.

Of utmost importance the integration of all the systems into one usable app. "When homeowners do these installations themselves, they may end up with ten apps that do ten different things," says Jason. "We integrate everything. There's a lot of technology, but it's easy to use. Everything works at the touch of a button. No one wants to come home and have to figure out how to run the space shuttle!"