When you’re a kid and you hear the phrase “home of the future,” your mind automatically leaps to images of buildings seventeen stories off the ground. You think of robotic dogs, saucer shaped houses and flying cars. And, while we’re a little ways off from this sort vision coming to reality, there are major breakthroughs happening today that are bringing the home of the future a little closer to reality. Closer to Home
When you finally achieve home ownership, the home of the future looks a little different for you. Sure, flying cars and a giant hot tub would be a bonus; in today’s economy, however, such luxuries wouldn’t be the first on your list of criteria when designing your new home. Rather, you will be thinking about the most energy efficient lighting system; the best way to utilize the 200 sqm you have; how to conserve water with your water-greedy lawn; and how to give your family a hot shower in the morning at the lowest cost and least energy consuming way possible.
There’s been much progress in making our visions of the future become a reality, and energy conservation and efficiency has become among the top priorities among architects as of late. The Institute of Architects has been meeting with parliament on an annual basis to discuss building strategies of the future in their Built Environment Meets Parliament (BEMP) meetings. Meanwhile, the institute has also implemented an annual award that acknowledges individuals who have made outstanding contributions to sustainability architecture.
Builders all across the country are also getting into the future home trend, putting up higher and higher energy rated homes, equipped with water-heating solar units, state-of-the-art solar panels, advanced insulation techniques and more. Saving water has been big, too, with many homes now equipped with low-flush toilets, smart shower heads with water control, and synthetic grass mixed in with climate-specific plant life in the gardens. On top of that, new building materials are being introduced that have the whole life-cycle of the product in mind. Imagine an office building that stands strong while it’s in use, and then, when it’s time to replace it with a newer building, the materials can all be either reused or allowed to decompose quickly and efficiently. Sustainability has become the theme of the future.
Oversees, many are striving for the same vision of the future home. During the U.S.-based National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show, architect and builder Phil Kean set forth a vision that included solar-assisted heating-and-air-conditioning systems, solar hot water heater and formaldehyde-free wood cabinetry, according to CultureMap.com. He also included artificial grass in both the front and the back yards, which will save water and cut back on the costs of fertilizer and maintenance. To off-set these synthetic lawns, Kean dressed up the lawn with native and drought resistant plants that will be just as eco-friendly as their synthetic counterpart.The Dream Come True
Of course, the home of the future doesn’t have to be just another pipe-dream. Now people don’t have to wait for builders to prop up advanced homes; they can modify their existing homes. Artificial grass is one such option, with many water-saving brands available. Energy-smart light bulbs are another, with light emitting diode (LED) versions using approximately 90 percent less energy than standard incandescent, and about half the energy of compact fluorescents (CFLs). There are also nifty apps available for smart phones these days that allow you to control various functions of your home at the touch of a button. Depending on the vendor, you can control your home lights, garage, alarm system and more if you have the right application.
The world is getting warmer, and water and energy are becoming increasingly important to the nation’s sustainability plan. Why not help the future by making it a part of the present? The home of the future is simply a matter of stepping out your front door and letting your toes sink into the luscious turf that will soon be a part of every home of the future.