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The smart sun home

One of two UVR16x2 in the "Sun home+" - © Gemeinhardt AG / Sonnenhaus-Institut / Udo Geisler
Das "Sonnenhaus+" - © Gemeinhardt AG / Sonnenhaus-Institut / Udo Geisler
Schaltschrank im "Sonnenhaus+" - © Gemeinhardt AG / Sonnenhaus-Institut / Udo Geisler

Interview with Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Matthias Gemeinhardt, director of the Gemeinhardt AG and customer of the Technische Alternative for over 12 years.

The concept of a "Sun home" has been around since the 70s and describes a house that's heated with at least 50% solar energy. Already in the year 1989, swiss TA-customer Josef Jenni put Europe's first house into operation that's heated entirely with thermal energy. In the year 2007 he built the first multi-family sun home.

The Gemeinhardt AG in Oberkotzau, Germany, is an active member of the Sun home institute and, based on this concept, strives for a complete energetic solution. The result was the "Sun home+", a smart home with state-of-the-art technology. With the UVR16x2 and the RSM610 to regulate heating, connected to a KNX system.

To find out more about the sun home, his enterprise and the work with our products, we were allowed to ask a few questions:

Mr. Gemeinhardt, your company builds home and heating technology since 1967 and already has 48 employees. Where do you see the potential in your branche?
Every object (= house) and every subject (= customer) is unique. This is why we have no technical solutions off the rack. As an experienced handicraft-enterprise we are close to our customers and can offer individualized solutions thanks to our technical know-how.

What has changed for the customers? Are the wishes and requirements the same as, say, 20 years ago?
Customers bring a lot more knowledge to the table and have considerably higher standard regarding diversity, technology, accessibility, service, as well as processing and reaction times.

You yourself live in the sample house "Sun home+" with your family, furnished according to latest tech. What's the "+" all about?
The „plus“ implies an integral energetic principle incl. networking and controlling of all relevent devices. Warmth, energy, utility and e-mobility were formerly viewed seperately. The Sun home + unites all these technologies to one intelligent unit.

Smart Homes are often regarded as a mere shenanigan for tech-enthusiasts. What is really in it for the end consumer?
Smart Homes are based around comfort, security and (sometimes) energy saving.

You install and programm devices of the x2-tech series of the Technische Alternative like the UVR16x2 and the RSM610. How did you find about these and why do you use them?
We've been working together with the TA for over 12 years. We were looking for an affordable, modern and comfortable controller for our heating systems. We were bothered by the sheer amount of proprietary controllers of the many boiler producers and how that made them increasingly hard to maintain and parameterize.

You cover many areas, heating, solar, photo voltaic as well as A/C and ventilation. Are the TA controllers used for all of these or have you specialized to some?
The TA controllers are, at this point, used for nearly all areas.

What has changed along with the use of freely programmable universal controllers by the TA?
We've grown considerably more independant and it's allowed us to realize our own ideas or the high demands of customers more easily, instead of having to start seemingly endless discussions with a variety of "development departments" of the "bigger boiler producers". Because, at the end of the day, WE are the service department in the field, that has to solve problems, and knowing yourself what you've programmed is an invaluable advantage.