Technology and innovations in many industries have advanced so quickly that it seems like all of a sudden we’re living in an episode of “The Jetsons,” right here in Fairfield County. Futuristic technology, building materials, and equipment have proliferated the home building industry. Homebuilders, as always, must adapt. Good contractors always do. The driving force behind today’s high-tech custom home can be attributed to advancements that provide better efficiency and easier-to-manage systems, fixtures, and equipment.
IoT Smart Home Technology
For the past few years, smart home technology has been built into custom homes across a range of equipment and entertainment systems. Lighting, appliances, garage doors, locks, security systems, and more can be controlled through your smartphone and home-based hub.
The next big thing to come in smart home technology will be the fully connected Internet of Things (IoT). Although we currently have a variety of smart devices, IoT is the idea that one single network connects all of these technologies to allow them to work at their fullest potential with maximum ease of use. Smart home manufacturers are working hard to make this a reality. We’re seeing more and more connected systems from manufacturers such as Amazon, Nest, and Phillips.
As efficiency becomes even more important to homeowners and builders, we’re sure to see a continued increase in equipment that uses less energy. As a result, geothermal technology is poised to become more of a norm. Geothermal heating and cooling units are highly efficient and more readily available than ever. Another system likely to become more popular is variable speed HVAC. Variable speed works by slowing down and speeding up power output based on the heating or cooling load of the house. Traditional systems simply turn on and off. This type of equipment can be up to 40 percent more efficient than traditional units. Other systems likely to become more popular include ductless mini-split systems and radiant heat.
Home Building Materials
New home building materials are always surfacing. Some take off, and some fade away. For 2017, there are a few materials that have the potential to make an impact on how homebuilders construct custom homes. One is recycled steel. Builders are choosing to use smaller amounts of steel over large quantities of wood that often require more complicated framing systems, particularly in luxury homes. Another is insulated concrete forms. Interconnected foam replaces plywood foundation forms, and the foam remains in place as an insulator. Composites on decking, trim, and siding will likely also grow in popularity as homeowners become more comfortable with them.
We’ve had 3-D animation to aid home design for several years now, but virtual reality (VR) is poised to eventually replace it. VR is on the precipice of taking off, and it will affect a wide range of industries. VR already exists in certain capacities for home builders, but future advancements will allow homeowners, architects, and homebuilders to step inside a full-sensory immersion and experience the spaces, functionality, and technology of a custom home before it’s even built. It’s hard to say when this type of experience will be the norm, but it’s safe to say it will be here before we know it.
One of the most exciting aspects of being a custom homebuilder, particularly in the luxury markets of Fairfield and Westchester counties, is seeing the home building process evolve and improve. Advancements have been rapidly made over the past few years and will likely continue to progress at a fast clip. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.