Loxone smart home designed by home automation expert NG Consulting.

Exceptional architecture with smart home automation wins buyers

April 23, 2024

It is still dark when Nazariy Grynyshyn wakes up on a March morning and gets ready for a drive to New Jersey from his base in Brooklyn. He knows this will be a big day when a big home automation project he designed for a brand new townhouse will come online for the first time.

His team spent several weeks getting everything ready, from connecting low-voltage recessed LED lighting and minimalistic touch switches on the walls, to wiring the air conditioning unit in the mechanical room, to hooking up control valves for the irrigation system. All these elements link to a control system called Loxone. By the end of the week, Loxone will orchestrate the main functions of the house for the new homeowners.

Nazariy Grynyshyn is the founder of NG Consulting, a Loxone Smart Home partner in New York City.

Loxone, a home automation company with roots in Austria and US headquarters in Philadelphia, has increased its market share rapidly in recent years. Refined European design aesthetic and the flexibility of the open platform won the hearts and minds of modern architects and discerning homeowners.

We sat down with Nazariy, the founder of NG Consulting NYC in Brooklyn, New York, and a Loxone Gold Partner, to discuss how his team crafts home automation experiences that delight his clients.

You've been doing Loxone for quite some time. What brought you to home automation?

I came to home automation as an electrician. What struck me was the lack of coordination between electricians, networking guys, and HVAC companies, even in high-end home construction.

My projects gradually moved upmarket toward the high-end homes where I saw a ton of Lutron. I was looking for what else was out there and got trained in Loxone. That eye-opening moment came when I saw how much more advanced Loxone was in direct comparison with Lutron, even in basic lighting controls.

Once my firm got Loxone certified, I knew we had a better way to offer smart thermostats. Unfortunately, the HVAC contractors didn't know much about system integration; they didn't see that as part of their job. That presented an opportunity, and soon after we added HVAC, networking, and cameras to our portfolio. That's when the magic started happening.

Ordinarily, you will need single-purpose apps on your smartphone for audio-video, ventilation, HVAC, shading, wi-fi, lawn irrigation and sprinkler controllers, pool heating, and so on. The number of apps required to control your house makes clients crazy. But Loxone answers this pain point incredibly well — these apps merge into a single app and single logic.

Do your customers pay close attention to modern design?

Yes, definitely. Almost all NG Consulting clients prefer clean, modern, contemporary European-style architecture and interior design. We come in with a platform that augments this modern design aesthetic: we remove unnecessary wall-mounted switches, dimmers, thermostats, and remotes, and we replace them with largely invisible technology.

When I show my clients the Loxone Touch Pure for the first time, it changes their perception of what's possible. The switch has five touch areas, an integrated thermostat, built-in orientation LED light, and it's such a massive leap in terms of design.

How does home automation change the lives of your clients?

Look at the heating and cooling controls of your HVAC system. The only thing my client needs to do is choose the right temperature. Remember, every Loxone wall switch doubles as a thermostat, so it feeds the room temperature back to the Loxone Miniserver. Loxone then decides in which room to increase the temperature, in which room to decrease the temperature, and where to turn on the humidifier. Traditionally, you would go to all the rooms and modify the settings. But that's history.

On the lighting side, the presence sensor makes all the difference — I love showing my clients how completely different it is from a standard motion sensor. We configure the Loxone presence sensor to detect movement and sound; Loxone combines these two functions into a single in-ceiling flush sensor.

NG Consulting installed RGB LED pendant lights (Loxone LED Pendulum Slim Tree White) controlled by the Loxone Smart Home Automation System for a customer in Brooklyn, NY.

Why would you combine a presence sensor with a sound sensor?

The presence sensor tracks your movement. If you move, it keeps the light on. But when you sit on a sofa talking with friends or watching TV with your kids, the lights can unexpectedly turn off. That's where the sound sensor comes in. It will detect people talking and keep your lights or mood lighting on. It's just much better at detecting that someone is in the room.

When prospective clients first call you, do they have a good idea of what they want?

We always start with a series of conversations to understand their lifestyle and what's truly important to them. Our clients are familiar with the smart home concept but may not immediately see how to maximize the benefits of home automation.

That's why customers need to experience home automation firsthand. When my company started, we could only show customers videos of what we did with Loxone. Today, we are building our first Loxone experience center right here in New York.

Who is your typical customer?

When I look at our project pipeline, 50% is brand new construction, and 50% are remodels. Our job in a typical remodel is to upgrade the house with a Loxone-based smart home automation and integrate mechanical, electronic, and building systems the customer may already have. We try to reuse existing wiring, and when we can't run additional CAT6 cables, we rely on Loxone Air, a wireless communication protocol between the switches, actuators, and the Loxone Miniserver.

NG Consulting has such broad expertise now that we win high-end new construction projects easily. But to be clear, you don't need a huge budget; a Loxone smart home is not expensive, it's comparable with regular electrical work. But as a bonus, the customer can move into a smart home with countless options for future expansion or modification — which is impossible with traditional electrical work. The Loxone software gets regular updates like your Tesla electric car, and you can add hardware modules to expand the controls to other parts of your house. You don't get locked into a world where what you buy on day one is the best version you'll ever have.

You mentioned cameras. How important is it for customers to have remote control over their house?

Security cameras are something homeowners always discuss with us. They want to know what's happening in and around their houses when they go on a two-week vacation to Italy. Nowadays, we set up our projects with a backup Internet connection — fiber optic or cable as primary, and Starlink or 5G for backup. We add Li-ion UPS battery backup to cover unexpected power outages.

Have you designed any fun lighting systems for clients?

Every project we ever delivered to customers had lighting. We add presence simulation — it mimics the presence of someone in the house and deters burglars. It behaves randomly, showing different behavior daily, so you can't spot repeated patterns. The lights are programmed to respond to the time of day, season, and ambient light — the Loxone Miniserver takes the data about the sunset and sunrise each day and adjusts when these lighting scenes go on.

We recently completed an outdoor area with party-mode lighting. The landscape LED lighting is also RGB, so as soon as winter comes, the customer can switch to Christmas mode with customized winter-tuned lighting — no need to hang Christmas lights around the house.

The bright green unit is the Loxone Miniserver, the hub of the Loxone smart home automation system, installed by NG Consulting for a homeowner in New York City. All Loxone components, including the Lutron 24V power supply and the terminal blocks, attach to the DIN Rail.

Does keyless entry come up in conversations?

Yes, people want keyless entry. A door access solution is essential, especially in bigger homes with three or four floors. Nobody wants to walk three flights of stairs to open the door for a housekeeper.

Again, Loxone makes it very convenient with the Intercom functionality fully integrated into the mobile app. The app rings, and you immediately see the person at the front door. You can talk to them and open the front entry door or garage door remotely, even if you are not home.

The challenge is that not all electronic locks are easy to integrate, with American brands lagging. European door lock brands work fine and are much easier to integrate; for example, Assa Abloy makes excellent electro-mechanical security locks.

How much does a smart home improve people's lives?

I ask my clients that question once they live in the house for a while. You know what they say? We didn't believe we would be this happy living in a smart home, but we are. Once people experience a house equipped with Loxone, they love it. On their way home from work, they tap one button, and the magic happens for them: the pool is ready, and the sauna is already warm, so they can just relax and unwind.

NG Consulting has integrated the lighting and heating controls of this sauna with the Loxone smart home automation system for a customer in Brooklyn, New York.

Angelbau interior frameless door projects frequently feature Loxone, as you can see from our project images. The reason is that both products cater to the same audience — clients interested in perfectly executed design and brilliant engineering. That is what connects us and what resonates with customers. The level of behind-the-scenes technology, present but invisible, rhymes well with what our top architects strive to achieve: beautifully crafted spaces.