Smartphones first gained a mass audience in America back in 2006, when Blackberry became hugely popular. While Blackberry has faded into the background, today smartphones are outselling traditional cell phones, with the gap widening every year. Its not just smartphones that have taken off, though. Computerized versions of all sorts of devices are becoming increasingly commonplace.
The natural progression of this, then, would be the computerized home — which integrates all of these devices into a single platform. In other words, a smart home. A smart home can mean different things to different people. In general though, they all incorporate some form of integration of their various systems, allowing homeowners more control over their home, even while away. Certain homebuilders throughout the country are attempting to get ahead of the curve by offering new homes with smart features either as standard or as an option.
What does a typical smart home contain? Some of these homes are designed to just make life easier for the homeowner. Pepper Viner Homes is offering new homes with built in Wi-Fi, which will let homeowners control audio systems, thermostats, lighting, and security, all from an iPad mini. This should be seen as just the tip of the iceberg for what smart homes are capable of.
Homebuilder KB Home envisions a smart home being an efficient home, actually a net-zero home. They go beyond computer-controlled thermostats to include solar power with battery storage for electricity production. Drain water is recycled and sterilized for use in toilets and irrigation. Energy-efficient appliances and lighting are also used throughout the home. Electricity and water usage can even be monitored in real time on smart TVs. Of course, these homes also allow homeowners to control lighting, temperature, locks, and more through a smartphone app. Currently, this is a concept home KB calls the Double ZeroHouse 3.0, but the company has plans to implement this system in the future.
Other homebuilders like Lennar Homes have already been implementing solar power with continuous monitoring as standard in all new homes in select communities. There is no extra cost for the solar system, and homeowners can buy the power at a 20% discount from prevailing electricity rates for 20 years. These homes will also include a Savant Systems home automation system, which includes security cameras, thermostat and lighting controls, the ability to open and close shades, and controlling audio and video equipment.
With so many builders starting to offer different options for smart homes, and a new generation of tech-savvy home buyers, it’s only a matter of time until these systems become as commonplace as smartphones are today. And with so many smart homes incorporating solar power, it’s only a matter of time till clean energy from the sun becomes not an option but a standard feature on all new homes.