About the home automation thing... Anybody try those FUJI Electric plc's that automation direct sells?
Another economy line looks to be made by eaton, which I saw is carried by omega instruments. BTW bud, omega has an awesome line of catalogs that are also instructional.
I love the hvac controls world, but being an electrician, I am being sucked more into the I&C end of the spectrum. And that's kind of scary, because HF acid and flammable liquids scare the crap out of me. I'd rather help a fat lady keep warm anyday.