As the fields of technology and architecture continue to advance and intersect with each other, society is seeing the advent of an increasing number of smart home features that are geared towards making life easier, more convenient, and safer for the average person.
Many of these futuristic features are already available on the market and can be found in a small percentage of homes. However, the vast majority of homeowners are still living in the past in terms of their home’s infrastructure, appliances, and built-in technology. Fortunately, within the next 10-20 years, almost every newly built home will have all or most of the following smart features:
1. Solar Panels
While only about 10% of all homes in the United States currently have solar panels installed, some states are already requiring that every newly built home must have a solar panel system pre-installed. The rate of solar panel installations doubled in 2016 alone, and since then solar has had the largest electricity generating capacity of any single power source. Almost 40% of new energy projects in the United States are related to solar installations.
According to Semper Solaris, a leading provider of solar installations in Los Angeles, more than 20% of newly built homes in the state of California will have solar panels installed by 2020. Semper Solaris is one of the best solar companies in Los Angeles. If you’re an L.A. homeowner who is interested in learning about the cost and process of solar panel system installation, you can find more information here by visiting their site.
2. Smart Lawncare Systems
Imagine being able to sit back and watch a robotic lawnmower strategically cut your grass and collect stray leaves and branches without any effort on your behalf. Throw in a smart sprinkler system and you’ll never have to pay for manual lawn care labor again. While these systems are relatively cutting edge today, having only appeared on the market over the past few years, by 2025, most newly built homes will have such systems pre-installed.
These smart systems will be able to go beyond scheduled watering times and will have the ability to read weather reports and detect factors like humidity or last rainfall to determine exactly when your lawn needs to be watered and how much water should be used for maximum irrigation efficiency.
3. Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats aren’t exactly groundbreaking, as they’ve been out for quite a while now, and they’re really nothing more than remotely controllable conventional thermostats. Still, this is a feature that is currently only found in a small percentage of homes in comparison to how ubiquitous they’re bound to become in the near future.
In fact, the thought of a thermostat that can’t be remotely controlled is going to seem as archaic as a landline phone compared to a smartphone today. Industry experts estimate that smart thermostats are positioned to become the majority norm in newly built homes by 2025.
4. Smart Windows & Blinds
Imagine a window that knows when to become tinted and when to become transparent based on your preferences. Electrochromic windows can do just that. The transparency of the glass can be precisely controlled by moderating the amount voltage that is fed into the window. In this way, you can let in or block as much light as you desire up until a very dark level of tinting.
With this technology, future homes will let you choose a preferred light intensity and automatically adjust to maintain that level of light in your home. Likewise, most homes will have smart blinds that can be remotely controlled or set to open and close automatically on a scheduled basis.
5. Smart Scales in the Bathroom
A conventional scale just tells you how much you weigh and that’s it. To get a more meaningful indication of your overall physical fitness and health, you need to consider other factors as well. A smart scale can measure not only your body weight but also your body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage.
Plus, smart scales can interface directly with apps to provide a more convenient way of reading and interpreting scale data. These apps can also be used to help you strive towards specific goals related to losing or gaining weight, optimizing BMI, and reducing body fat.
6. Smart Dishwashers
A smart dishwasher can be controlled remotely via your home’s Wi-Fi network by using convenient smartphone or wearable apps. Likewise, many smart dishwashers include voice command capabilities that can be integrated into a smart home’s overall voice command center. The ability to remotely utilize every feature of your dishwasher via the internet means that you’ll be able to wash dishes while you’re not even home.
Furthermore, smart dishwashers use only the optimal amount of water needed to run each load, and some models have power scrub and rinse features that do a remarkable job of cleaning dishes without requiring the use of any detergent. Such efficiency and efficacy will make smart dishwashers a common feature in most newly built homes.
7. Remote Home Security
Remote home surveillance apps are already a pretty big thing right now, but in the future, they’ll be included with almost every home. These systems are very cheap and easy to install, and they can interface directly with smartphone apps to provide direct access to your home’s surveillance feed from anywhere you have a data connection.
Furthermore, the average home surveillance system will be more advanced than the conventional setups used today, with features like remote tilting, night vision, motion sensor activation, and wide angle viewing coming standard. As with every other tech industry, surveillance features that are currently considered top-notch security upgrades will soon be considered standard, run-of-the-mill systems that most homes will have installed.
8. Smart Home Command Centers
Of course, with all of this new tech at your fingertips, there has to be a convenient way to control it all. A smart home command center is essentially a combination of hardware and software that creates a home-wide system which can be easily accessed using a remote, voice commands, or mobile app from anywhere within the home.
Generally, you can think of the command center as a touchscreen that provides centralized access to every smart feature in your home. These interfaces will help with property management and maintenance while also significantly improving quality of life and convenience of the home’s inhabitants.
9. Smart Lighting
Smart lighting knows when to adjust itself and can be finely tuned to automatically brighten or dim on its own depending on your preferred lighting profile. You’ll be able to set the lights to turn on or off at certain times, or manually turn them on/off remotely like most other component within the overall smart home grid.
Furthermore, homes of the future will use light to influence mood by changing the color and intensity of bulbs automatically, or based on your preferred settings. In most homes today, the lights do not turn off automatically when there is no one in the room, but that will be a commonly available energy-saving feature in near future homes.
10. Remote Vacuum Cleaners
There are already an abundance of automated robotic vacuums and floor cleaners that do great jobs. However, recently the industry has bumped up the convenience by releasing floor cleaning robots that can be controlled remotely via Wi-Fi. This solves a couple of problems that conventional robotic floor cleaners have.
First, users that would rather take a guided approach instead of trusting the robot to not knock their furniture and belongings over might prefer to remotely control the vacuum or at least have remote user override functionality. Second, it lets the users view what the vacuum is doing via the mounted camera that is used for steering. Three, it can be enabled from anywhere, so you can come home from vacation with a clean floor.
11. Eco-Friendly Materials
A long time ago, almost all building materials were eco-friendly because people started by building structures out of earthen materials and locally sourced lumber. However, as civilization advanced and humans created an unquenchable demand for mass manufactured building materials and lumber, issues like global deforestation, resource depletion, and factory pollution became concerns.
Society has been building wasteful wood homes for centuries, and only in the past couple of decades have progressive builders and architects returned to using eco-friendly building materials like adobe, bamboo, Richlite (wood composite made from recycled paper), and hempcrete (concrete made from hemp), the latter of which has been widely touted as the most sustainable building material. Right now, these materials are mostly used in eco-friendly building projects, but in the near future they’ll be commonplace.
Energy efficiency will continue to become an increasingly important topic with the general public, and more homeowners will be taking steps to reduce their dependence on the grid. The best way to do that for lighting is to install skylights – windows in your roof – that let natural sunlight do its job. These extra sturdy panes of glass can also be fitted with the aforementioned electrochromic smart glass systems to give the user the ability to instantly adjust the intensity of the window’s transparency or tint.
Skylights are already becoming more popular in modern home construction and it is likely that soon they’ll be commonplace in all new homes because they provide a double-sided benefit – they reduce the need to use artificial lighting and they let natural sunlight into your home, which has been proven to have health benefits.
13. Voice Assistants
Smart voice-activated assistants like Siri and Alexa are already commonplace on mobile devices and in operating systems. However, the homes of the future will essentially have voices of their own and they’ll be able to take vocal commands as well as respond intelligently to queries or requests. In essence, you’ll be able to talk to your home and tell it what you want it to do. Again, this is a technology that already exists and is rapidly gaining popularity and new features, so it will most likely become a standard feature in near future homes.
14. Greenhouses or Indoor Gardens
As the world continues to embrace the concepts of sustainability and self-sufficiency, a growing number of homeowners will be taking steps to install greenhouses, sun rooms, backyard garden areas, and indoor gardening rooms that will make home horticulture much more common than it is today. Two decades from now, more than half of the new homes being built will have some sort of gardening feature built-in. These features are being added to new architectural designs to meet the rising consumer demand for eco-friendly solutions.
15. Smart Ceiling Fans
Finally, another feature that would probably go unnoticed in the smart homes of the near future would be the smart ceiling fan. These fans will be able to detect when the air is stagnant or stuffy in a room and then automatically turn itself on to accommodate room inhabitants. Of course, they’ll also be connected to the smart home system and can therefore be controlled remotely. Smart fans are already on the market and are another example of an item that is relatively niche in today’s market but will probably become the norm in the newly built homes of tomorrow.
The Future of Architecture Revolves Around Modern Convenience
Many futurists have pointed out that we’re living an unprecedented “age of automation” – a time when anything that can be automated, eventually will be. With all the traditional chores being handled by robots and within user-friendly app interfaces, future homeowners will be able to keep their property in perfect condition on an ongoing basis without ever having a need to do spring cleaning or tedious tidying up.
As new inventions continue to make everyday life easier and more convenient, we’ll inevitably see the average home becoming a more care-free and comfortable environment for its inhabitants. Likewise, builders and home planners will continue to incorporate features that make homes more eco-friendly and self-sufficient.