The Inside Outside Guys: Finally – a “smart” smart home

By: Ken Calverley and Chuck Breidenstein
Special to The Detroit News

We have been hearing the phrase “smart home” for several decades now. The term has taken on a variety of meanings, from defining structured wiring and its various component pieces to accommodating “smart” devices for wireless applications that allow you to remotely dim the lights or turn up the thermostat.

The truly smart home today is fully integrated not only with the systems of the structure, but also with the occupants of the structure. One contractor has taken a local model home to this next step and the project is a one-of-a-kind in terms of its AI, systems management and integration with the owner’s lifestyle.

The brainchild of David Compo, president of Compo Builders in Novi, the Lisa Ranch in the Dunhill Park development at the corner of 8 Mile and Beck is a model home that fully incorporates all of these concepts.

The model home the Lisa Ranch is a one-of-a-kind example of smart technology in a house.

A standard router is no longer enough to handle the many devices and IP addresses of an intelligent home. A Mesh Network is required to “cover” the home and manage the use of up to a hundred devices. One used in the Lisa is the Luxel network that comes with 3-6 wireless access points and is wired for maximum coverage anywhere in or around the home, garage, lanai or patio.

Recessed lighting has become the focal point of communication in the home between the systems and the occupants. A longtime leader in lighting devices, Juno, has created the world’s first smart recessed can, the Juno AI. For current homeowners, this will replace any 6” recess can insert or is available for new construction, and the Lisa has it.

In the Lisa, Juno AI can mimic circadian rhythm throughout the home. The “K” value of the lighting will change throughout the day with the sun, or in the sun’s absence, from warm light of morning to bright white of mid-day and back to the warm light of sunset.

These same lights can incorporate JBL speakers with awesome sound capability such that each room in the house can communicate with the owner and be “told” to play a favorite type of music.

All of this can be done automatically or by voice command using an Alexa platform built into the units. Whether changing the lights, the music or the intensity of either, a simple voice command is all that’s needed. Using this same system, the home can be programmed to greet you at the end of a long day.

The Lisa also incorporates window blinds that can be pre-set or voice controlled by Alexa to open, close or adjust. These Hunter Douglas products can be hard wired into the home or battery operated for a retro-fit.

The plumbing system in the home incorporates the solution to every home owners’ nightmare, an undetected leak. Lisa uses a product by Stream Labs that “learns” the water usage patterns of the owner and can detect a leak down to 1/100 of a gallon of water. Less than what’s in your coffee cup! If a leak develops, it can automatically shut down the water main and “contact” you on a smart device to put you on notice.

The home also includes a water manifold system providing separate lines and shut-offs for every point of use in the home, both hot and cold. This includes the hose bibs with irrigation water control, and all from one easy to access location in the home. The system also employs hot water circulating lines for faster hot water at the point of use.

The HVAC system uses DC drive furnaces that can “ramp up” automatically when needed and is zoned and sound controlled for each level of the home. The system uses over-sized media air filters to pull out microscopic pollutants. This provides clean, constant temperature heating and cooling with almost no awareness the system is even operating. Power humidifiers are integrated into the system which has multiple, programmable, thermostats.

Lisa also uses a natural gas manifold system that provides separate lines and shut-offs to each gas appliance from a single location.

Many of these features can be incorporated into an existing home during a remodel.

Lisa is proof the smart home has finally arrived and she can be experienced in Novi.

For more Home Improvement advice listen to the Inside Outside Guys every Saturday and Sunday on News Talk 760, WJR-AM, from 10:00AM-12PM or contact us at with your questions.