Seven Trends That Will Define the Home of the Future

As sophisticated as homes are today, experts predict they’ll be far more so in the not-too-distant future— especially when it comes to their use of technology. Included are seven evolutionary trends that many expect to define the home of the future.

 

#1: Faster home-construction

Today, it takes somewhere between 18 months and two years to design and build your custom dream home. In the foreseeable future, experts predict that timeline will be slashed to six to nine months.

Architects will use immersion technology to not only develop plans faster, but also enable you to “walk” through a three-dimensional representation of the house and experience what it will be like to live there. Changes to the layout could be incorporated with a few clicks of the keyboard and mouse.

And, instead of delivering raw materials to the construction site and having workers cut and assemble them to match the plans, about 70 percent of the cutting and assembling work will take place in a precision-controlled factory environment. Once the foundation is ready, the pre-constructed walls, floors and roof will be delivered in “folded” sections, complete with windows, doors, fixtures, and even appliances, already installed.

 

#2: Alternative building materials and techniques

One of the big breakthroughs in home construction coming in the near future will be the use of steel framing in place of lumber.

Steel is not only stronger (able to withstand a 100-pound snow load, 110 mile per hour winds and significant earthquakes), it’s also far more eco-friendly than most people think (manufactured from up to 77 percent recycled materials) and much less wasteful (typical lumber framing generates 20 percent waste, while steel framing generates just two percent).

Other innovative home-building materials moving towards the mainstream include:

  • Wall insulation made of mushroom roots (it grows inside the air cavity, forming an air-tight seal).
  • Panels made of hemp and lime.
  • Windows made from recycled wood fiber and glass.
  • Recycled-glass floor and counter tiles.
  • Reclaimed wood (beams and flooring re-milled and repurposed).

 

#3: Smaller homes with inventive layouts

The optimum home size for many Americans has been shrinking, and experts predict it will shrink more in the future. But it will feel bigger than it is because the layout will be so practical.

The driving forces behind the small-house movement (millennials purchasing their first home and baby boomers looking to downsize) aren’t interested in formal dining rooms, home offices, guest quarters and other spaces that have only one use and are only occasionally occupied. And they certainly aren’t interested in formal entries, high ceilings and three-car garages. They want an informal house layout, with flexible, adaptable spaces that can be used every day in one way or another.

Many of these homes will also feature a second master bedroom, so parents, children and grandparents can all comfortably live under one roof.

 

#4: Walkable neighborhoods

Even today, homebuyers are willing to give up some of their wants for a new house in order to get a location that’s within walking distance to stores, restaurants and other amenities. In the future, that trend is expected to only grow stronger.

 

#5: The net-zero house

For some time now, homeowners and homebuilders have both been striving to make the structures where we live more energy-efficient (green housing projects accounted for 20% of all newly built homes in 2012). But in the future, the new goal with be a net-zero home: A home that uses between 60 to 70 percent less energy than a conventional home, with the balance of its energy needs supplied by renewable technologies (solar, wind, etc.).

Essentially, these are homes that sustain themselves. While they do consume energy produced by the local utility, they also produce energy of their own, which can be sold back to the utility through a “net metering” program, offsetting the energy purchased.

 

#6 High-tech features

The technology revolution that’s transformed our phones, computers and TVs is going to push further into our homes in the not-too-distant future.

Examples include:

  • Compact robots (similar to the Roomba vacuum) that will clean windows and more.
  • Video feeds inside the oven that will allow you to use your phone to check on what’s cooking.
  • Faucet sensors that detect bacteria in food.
  • Blinds that will automatically open and close depending on the time of day, your habits and the amount of sun streaming through the windows.
  • Refrigerators that will monitor quantities, track expiration dates, provide recipes, display family photos, access the Web, play music, and more.
  • Washers and dryers that can be operated remotely.
  • Appliances that will recognize your spoken commands.
  • Heating and cooling systems that automatically adapt to your movements and can predict your wants.

 

#7: A higher level of security

In the future, home will continue to be a place where we want to feel safe and secure. To accomplish that, you can expect:

  • Sensors that can alert you to water and gas leaks.
  • Facial recognition technology that can automatically determine whether someone on your property is a friend or foe.
  • A smart recognition system that will open the garage door, turn off the security system, unlock the doors and turn on the interior lights when it senses your car approaching.
  • The capability to create the illusion that you’re home and moving about the property when you’re actually someplace else.

 

This is no pipe dream

Many of these products, processes and strategies are already in use. Some are still being tested. And others are only in the incubator stage. But in the not-too-distant future, experts believe they’ll all be available to homeowners across the country.

 

Originally posted on the Windermere Blag by Tara Sharp.

Work Smarter – Not Harder with Smart Home Technology

While still in its infancy, the number of smart home products—devices that let you control lighting, thermostat, or even your crock pot from your smartphone—is rapidly growing. These are products and whole ecosystems that help you control your home via a single iOS or Android app. You can pick and choose your favorite gadgets to assemble an affordable, intelligent abode on your own terms, or opt for an entire smart home system that does all the work for you.

As home automation becomes more prevalent, naturally there are more and more products becoming available as “smart devices”. Here are some of the more diverse home gadgets we have found, beyond thermostats and security cameras:

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GE WiFi CONNECT WASHER AND DRYER

Check washer progress with an app that lets you monitor cycles and settings, extend drying times, monitor levels of Smart Dispense tanks, download custom specialty cycles and receive alerts when clothes haven’t been removed.

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LOGITECH HARMONY ELITE, UNIVERSAL REMOTE CONTROL

More than just a TV remote – the Logitech Harmony Elite offers all-in-one control of up to 15 home devices including your TV, satellite or cable box, Apple TV, Roku, TiVo, Blu-ray player, game consoles, plus connected lights, locks, thermostats, sensors and more. There’s even a free app that turns your smart phone into an additional remote.

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PETZI TREAT CAM

Missing your pet while you’re away? The Petzi Treat Cam provides a way to connect with them through your smart phone from anywhere. Dispense treats, watch live HD video and speak with your pet using the 2-way audio.

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FRIGIDAIRE SMART WINDOW AIR CONDITIONER

A wifi connected air conditioner that you control through an app on your smart phone allows you to turn the unit on or off, change temperature, control modes and adapt fan speeds – especially handy if you want your home cooled off before you get home!

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SAMSUNG FAMILY HUB REFRIGERATOR

A few years ago, having a French door refrigerator with cameras, wifi, and a gigantic touchscreen would have been the stuff of dreams. Today it is a reality. This high-end fridge will let you peek inside it while grocery shopping, search for recipes on the 21.5 inch display, mirror your smart TV so you can keep watching your movie while you grab a drink, share calendars, photos and best of all – it even keeps your food cold.

A Peek into the Future

The International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) trade show took place last week in Las Vegas. If you thought last year’s best technology from CES was cool, this year brings a whole new meaning to “innovation.”

Samsung Family Hub Smart Refrigerator

Samsung’s latest smart device was unveiled at CES this year and it might be something you have to see to believe. This is the first third-party home appliance to feature Amazon Alexa. Alexa is the always-listening digital assistant first introduced in Amazon’s Echo device late last year. This fridge allows you to see what’s inside while you’re at the grocery store. The Family Hub Fridge features a pair of cameras on the inside that take pictures of the fridge’s contents every time you open and close the doors. You’ll be able to access those images on the Samsung app (iOS or Android). Picture yourself at the store, checking if you enough milk or juice. Your stress level just went down a notch. Read more here.

Hydrao Smart Shower

Let’s face it, we all waste water whether we mean to or not. Now there’s a way to find out how much and it doesn’t use any energy whatsoever. The white shower head, which wasdownload
introduced at CES, is equipped with built-in LED lights that can tell you about how much water you’ve used. The Bluetooth device connects to an iPhone or iPad app, which lets you set three alert intervals, such as five gallons, seven gallons and 10 gallons. It even lights up in different colors depending on the one you choose. It fits any shower head and has a tiny turbine inside that uses the water flowing through it that produces energy to power the lights and the Bluetooth connectivity. Talk about eco-friendly! You can set profiles for different users and track water usage in the app, in order to encourage family members to change their over-use habits.  Get the rest of the down low on Mashable.

SCiO food scanner

A French startup, DietSensor, has invented a device that tells us just how many carbs and calories are on our plates. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, thanks to the French, we can no longer enjoy food. It’s like when you go to a restaurant to have a good time and they put the calories on the menu and you feel shamed for eating. This pocket-sized device called SCiO uses near-infrared spectroscopy (the analysis of how molecules interact with light) to determine the chemical makeup of food and drink. Although dieting Americans will never leave this device out of sight, it was actually intended for those with diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. Check out the best of CES 2016 here.

Netflix

2000px-Netflix_logo.svgWe’ve all spent many Friday nights and long weekends cuddling up with our significant other: Netflix. The most popular streaming service stole the CES show and we aren’t surprised one bit. They rolled out their streaming service worldwide – 130 countries and 70 million homes. The day of this announcement their shares grew nine percent. Who runs the world? Netflix.

Update Your Home Tech

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Just like you don’t want your phones and tablets to be outdated, you don’t want your home outdated either. Smart home tech has been available for years, but only now has it become truly user friendly. In order to keep up with the status quo, we’ve compiled a small list of gadgets that are easy to use, affordable, and solve real problems.

Rachio’s Iro – Watering is one of the most wasteful things for homeowners, since sprinklers are based on a clock. Iro looks up the weather for you and saves water by scheduling based on your geography and weather conditions.

Nest Thermostat – Cool your heating bills by making your heating and air-conditioning more efficient. The Nest also acts as a hub, pairing with non-Nest devices to make your home even smarter.

Chamberlain MyQ Garage – Hate that feeling when you think you might have forgotten to close the garage door? This handy device will confirm your suspicion and let you use your phone to close (or open) it from wherever you happen to be.

Cree’s Connected LEDs – More than just a parlor trick, these lights can be totally controlled by your phone and are more efficient than incandescents.

Piper nv – Web security cameras are usually just a watchful eye, but this device has a 105-decibel siren that goes off while in “away” or “vacation” mode if it detects any intruders. It also tracks temperature, movement, and humidity, and connects to window and door sensors. Say hasta la vista to a monthly subscription-based security system.