Marche, a pluralistic region. As the name itself indicates. A land of perpetual valleys that descend from the Apennines to the Adriatic. A happy land: with powerful nature in the Sibillini Mountains, rolling hills around Macerata and Ascoli and sudden plains where the rivers dive into the sea. The locations in these very diverse landscapes are, however, linked by a common element: a culture marked by the poetry of nature and the pursuit of beauty. Like the beauty of the landscape of the countless hills, the most famous of which is surely that of Recanati, praised in the verses of Leopardi. Less well known but still characteristic of the territory is the hill upon which lies Corva, a village of Porto San'Elpidio in the province of Fermo.
Porto Sant'Elpidio is a historic seaside village which features the longest pebble beach of the entire Adriatic coastline, complete with seaside facilities. And even though its a seaside town, it is distinguished for the gentle hilly landscape in proximity to the coast, a common phenomenon of the Marche region. And it is precisely on this band of hills that the parish of St. Mary of Sorrows extends, encompassing the ancient village of Corva and the small parish church at its centre.
This building was recently restored and a significant portion of the work involved the complete reconstruction of the whole electrical system. And Vimar contributed by providing the technology for the home automation system. The decision to install the By-me system was made by the client, who wanted total control of the lighting, the sound system and air conditioning from a single point, without resorting to any invasive work on the structure, in compliance with the constraints imposed by the Superintendence of Fine Arts.
Father Paolo Canale, the young pastor of Corva, explains that the idea to implement a home automation system was initially suggested by a parishioner and friend who was as an electrician and was therefore able to offer valuable advice. The young pastor, who had always been highly interested in technology, took it from there.
According to Father Paolo, By-me has been fundamental for the optimisation of spaces, as it is able to focus all the control in one place. Lighting and temperature control, the ability to load and control the settings for every single device, and intelligent power distribution: the system meets all the needs of the parish priest. From the 4.3-inch touch screen positioned inside the sacristy, it is in fact possible to totally control the various areas into which the church was divided. A veritable control centre from which the settings can be manipulated for the church, the sacristy and the adjoining room where a HD screen was installed to allow the faithful to follow the mass when the nave is full.
Also from the touch screen, it is possible to invoke different "scenarios", special combinations of lighting that have been previously set in the home automation control unit – the real heart of the system – where all the By-me functions can be manipulated.
This church has four scenarios: "Sunday Mass", "Weekday Mass", "celebrations" and "off". The differences mainly involve variances in the light settings. As the liturgical norms in fact dictate, the solemnity of Sunday and major religious holidays must be emphasised, including through the proper arrangement of lights.
The "celebrations" scenario is instead used for wedding ceremonies with the area in front of the presbytery reserved for newlyweds is illuminated to confer greater importance and solemnity.
Besides the possibility of exploiting the full potential of the lighting system, one of the main advantages of By-me is given by the comfort that home automation can provide. If it was previously necessary with the old electrical system to turn off all the lights one by one, the "off" scenario can now be activated with a simple tap on the touch screen and the system automatically shuts down all the lighting. This is significant in terms of cost savings. In a structure such as a church, where high volumes of lighting are involved, the ability to constantly control the various environments and all light sources completely eliminates waste. Lights never remain on unnecessarily.
In addition to lighting, the bells can also be managed by the system. The event programmer allows different combination settings: the large and small bell can be sounded one at a time or together, ring automatically at certain times of the day or, in the case of special ceremonies, be activated directly from the touch screen.
Finally, for the air conditioning, the home automation control unit has been set up to separately manage two separate divisions – the nave and the side room – with the possibility of adjusting the desired temperature in each.
The simple elegance of the Eikon home series with Classic model plaques, in the black anthracite colour inside the church and arctic white in the adjacent room, frame all the devices and controls. The buttons, which feature delicate, noiseless mechanisms and incredible movement precision, can be found even in the dark as they are backlit to reveal both the traditional controls and the home automation controls, which are differentiated by their touch activation.
It's almost dusk and the last rays of the sun bestow a reddish tinge on the clouds, illuminating the external façade of the church surmounted by a small statue of the Virgin Mary observing the village and the flat sea that stretches out to the horizon. An image of tranquillity and peace that seems to come from another era, but thanks to technology Vimar, is more relevant than ever.
Home automation system: By-me
System installation: Telelight S.a.S., Porto Sant 'Elpidio (FM)