Home of the Future
The ultimate form of investment in the future is buying a home. The often overlooked fact when buying a house is that the house you live in today may not fulfill future needs. With rising costs of energy and real estate, the way homes function are changing. The construction industry in recent years has created construction methods and materials that outperform the ways of old. Automation has allowed homeowners to do more with less. Alternative Energy has created new ways to receive our energy. Prefabrication has created better quality homes. A look towards the future is not only important, it’s essential.
Home automation or control systems have had a large impact on energy savings and features. Today smart homes can be controlled by a mobile device to control lights, appliances, and even locks. The company SmartThings is attempting to bridge the gap between the traditional home and the smart home. The company sells motion sensors, temperature gauges, locks, presence sensors, window sensors, moisture sensors, and more that are all compatible with hundreds of smart devices. These sensors can communicate with you as wells as with each other to create a smart house to you’re already existing house. There are smart thermostats like the Nest that can study your habits and make adjustments to your needs. This is both convenience and energy efficiency working together. The future according to Popular Mechanics will have a home with a “central nervous system” that will sense and evaluate data from all areas of the house from appliances to plumbing.
Prefabricated homes have created better quality homes due to controlled settings for assembly and less waste on-site. Today there is even insulated wall units that arrive on a construction site with electrical and plumbing conduits in place. Since this construction is performed in a controlled environment, the homes, buildings, or materials made have superior insulation, which will cut down on energy costs. Moderna Homes based in out of Menlo Park CA has squashed the stereotype that prefab homes were poor quality and aesthetically displeasing. In the future we look to see even larger portions of houses to be prefabricated with stronger materials, vastly improving quality.
Social trends have a tremendous impact on the housing industry. According to The Concord Group, a real estate advisory service provider, the ‘Echo Boomers’ (baby-boomer children), believe that an open floor plan and large kitchen is essential in a home. RCLCO real estate consultants found that two thirds of these Echo Boomers would rather live in diverse, walkable community. This will impact how future homes are built. There will be a greater emphasis on kitchens and open floor plans, while also a more open generation towards energy efficient technology. These Echo Boomers will be likely more open to plumbing and heating systems that save energy and conserve water supplies.
Of course with all these factors there is a need to bring all these concepts and technologies together to make a durable, sustainable, and pleasing design. If you do not like the home you live in what is the point. In August of 2004 PATH (Public-Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology) launched The Concept Home projects. This is a program run by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. These projects have created Concept Homes that have showed off all the benefits of advancing housing technologies while still practical in design. The first Concept Home was built in Omaha, Nebraska and featured a home adaptable to changing lifestyles. Newport Partners in early 2008 created Concept Home Charleston. This concept home project includes cutting edge technologies from Whirlpool, Behr, Broan-NuTone, Honeywell, and much more to create a hurricane resistant home. This concept home is an example of using the most advanced systems and products to create a sustainable, durable, energy efficient home, with open floor plan flexibility.
The amount of possibilities the future holds for building is vast. Water bills are slashed with low-flow technology and aerators. Moisture meters detect problems. Alternative Energy allows people to create their own energy. Construction materials are constantly being researched and perfected for durability as well as other benefits like cost. Much is being done to create a better future for housing industry with a bright future to look forward to.