Our smartphones are like Batman’s utility belt. Encased within their sleek and slim, aluminium and glass coated bodies is, sometimes seemingly, the answer to all our problems. Roaring into the limelight in the last few years, smartphones are a brilliant example of the natural progression of technology, taking an old premise and stuffing it full of modernity until it’s a barely recognizable shade of its former self. Now, many of us claim we couldn’t leave the house without our smartphone, the mere suggestion causing us to tremble and shake before needing to lie down immediately. So what’s next; SmartHomes? Quite possibly.
The House of Tomorrow
Whilst there are many different visions for the House of Tomorrow, or the SmartHome, one of the most predominant features that many developers and artists are working toward is the completely eco-efficient home. Sustainable energy is something just about every industry is factoring into their many equations these days, and as our home can often be the base upon which we carve out and increasingly deep and detailed carbon footprint, it’s certainly something that needs to be addressed.
So how do SmartHomes change all this? Essentially, they fuse the latest technological advancements to the home to deliver both convenience and energy saving solutions simultaneously. Take for example one significant, increasingly popular technology which is actually available today – home automation.
Home automation systems, cleverly meld your home to your smartphone – in many ways they are the most significant step toward a more literal, literary ‘SmartHome’. By connecting up each and every aspect of the home to a single system, it can grant you remote access from wherever you are. From your lights to your fireplace, to your home cinema system, everything can be connected allowing you to control it from you smartphone. This means you need never leave unnecessary lights or appliances on and you can even set curtains and blinds to move according to the amount of light in the room. Clever just doesn’t cut it.
But it’s not just fangled, futuristic convenience technology that will transform the homes of tomorrow, as one Flintshire-based entrepreneur is out there proving right now. Russell White, owner of Field Farm near Northop has refurbished a huge 39 homes that now either have no running costs at all or actually make money from their renewable energy sources. His own property is also a zero-carbon home, generating 7,000 kW of electricity a year, powering the house for him and his family and feeding the rest back into the grid.
Every inch of his innovative, high-tech home has been tailored for optimal energy consumption, with efficient LED bulbs lighting the rooms, a sophisticated ventilation system that ensures no heat is wasted, and an electric ribbon under floor heating solution that eradicates the need for radiators.
Is this the true home of the future? An entirely sustainable building that generates electricity, heat and even money? This emphasis on renewable energy, combined with innovative leaps in consumer technology such as that seen in home automation products could well be laying the foundations for new housing standards in the coming years. So are SmartHomes the new Smartphones? It’s unlikely such an undefined idea will reach the dizzying popularity heights of Apple’s biggest seller, but one way or another something will change over the next few years in regards to how our houses are built and how they function, and ‘SmartHome’ might just be the tag line the housing industry runs with.