Control4, maker of dashboards that allow consumers to automate their homes — everything from their media collections to their security systems to their thermostats — has just launched a platform allowing third-party Flash developers to create and contribute their own apps to Control4’s repertoire. At the same time, it’s opened up a contest for developers to win as much as $10,000.

Called the 4Store application marketplace, the Flash-based platform is the first app catalog of its kind not to be tied to mobile phones and to center around devices, appliances and systems in the home. The company says it hopes developers will bring the expertise and ideas they’ve cultivated working on social networking, informational and entertainment apps for phones to the home arena.

The company has provided Control4 software development kits to developers so they can create applications that make homes smarter, and that give consumers more control over their media centers, lighting, heating and air conditioning, security and surveillance, and appliance energy consumption.

For example, Control4 customers could potentially use these apps to schedule when to water their lawns, when their refrigerators should make ice, at what temperature to switch on air conditioning or heating systems, and more. The underpinning idea is to help customers conserve energy without compromising their comfort.

To encourage developers to take a close look at the platform, Control4 is running a contest for the Flash development community, offering $5,000 for the most popular application and $5,000 in Control4 products for the most 4Store applications submitted between July 1 and August 31.

Based in Salt Lake City, Control4 has to date raised more than $78 million from Frazier Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, vSpring Capital and Thomas Weisel Venture Partners, among others.