I'm going to be pulling the trigger in the next few months on some upgrades around the house and I wanted some thoughts on direction. I have already made initial contact with 2 local companies, but looking for additional advice/guidance from those of you who do this professionally or have been down this road before so that I can have intelligent discussions with the dealer(s).
Current setup (2700sf 2-story house). Distributed audio (Nuvo GC 6 zones); Distributed Video (Audio Authority matrix - DVR only at this point; replacing megachangers with server/Dune media players); Home theater - dedicated rack, dedicated lighting (GrafikRa), shared DVR. All except Nuvo controlled by URC rf remotes. 3 TV zones (1-5.1) + home theater (7.2).
Planned upgrades: Required: Lighting, HVAC control. Potential but not required: shade control (Sivoia QS wireless?), irrigation and alarm panel control. I think I have enough Cat6 wiring to accommodate any realistic solution (I over-spec'd my house wiring during construction 5 years ago in anticipation) except for shades (which is why I think the Sivoia QS wireless is my only option to not have to rip drywall up to run wiring).
My current ir/rf control is rock solid (knock wood) and does everything I currently NEED it to do in terms of controlling my a/v equipment (except the Nuvo - we never configured the URC base stations/remotes to control the Nuvo at the rack, and IR control through the local keypads is ridiculously narrow line of sight). So part of me is struggling with even moving from the URC control to Control4 or something else (why fix what ain't broke?). If I forgo security and irrigation, I could keep the URC and control everything else through the Nuvo and Lutron iDevice apps. But I like shiny new toys and bells and whistles, and I would really like to be able to control things while I'm away from home.
My first thought was to go with Lutron Radio Ra2 for my retrofit lighting (and HVAC and shade). I prefer a best of breed approach rather than one does it all (assuming those best of breed can be well-managed by the automation system without issue). My initial talks with two potential dealers locally have them both recommending using Control4 Lighting if I go with C4 automation, but I get the sense that both are doing it because they may not have ever integrated the two (I had to tell them both that Lutron provides certified drivers on its site for several different automation platforms).
Question 1. Does the Lutron driver for automation platforms provide for control over the Lutron HVAC and shade solutions?
Question 2. What are the limitations (if any) re: lighting control of the Lutron driver for automation platforms (I suppose this could be moot, as I could always fall back to the Lutron iPad app if the control I wanted in the selected automation platform was not available)? Actually, this raises Question 2a: How much control does the Lutron App provide (i.e., can I still control each load (i.e., switch) if need be)?
Question 3: If I go with Lutron, what do I lose with respect to other platforms by not using their lighting components (and I already know about the Control4 mesh network, but it can be strengthened through other means - like using multiple controllers around the house - and should not pose a problem in this size home).
Question 4. Does the Lutron HVAC controller (thermostat) provide for control over zoned systems with remote temperature sensors, as I suspect that is the solution my HVAC pro will come back with to solve my temperature variance issues.
Question 4. I know that most platforms CAN integrate security (yeah, I may need to switch panels), but are there any limitations/gotchas I should know about security integration? In other words, if I have the correct panel in place and the right driver/connection, I'm assuming I'd have full control over the panel in most systems/circumstances, yes?
Question 5: What am I forgetting? I realize that there are a number of other considerations (like whether my components are supported), but I'll address those with the dealer. Are there any major gotchas I need to think through?
I should add that I'm budget-conscious but not penny pinching; I'm leaning toward Control4 because it seems to be decent system that would accomplish my goals without breaking the bank, especially since I have the a/v foundations in place, and the costs to implement would mostly be lighting and control hardware/software and installation/programming costs (i.e., little to no equipment replacement). Would you suggest anything else? I had Elan g! in consideration, but after talking with the local dealer and reading the latest posts here, I have ruled it out for now.