Residential New Homes & Development Land Manager Calton Stockley shares some of his favourite in-home tech.
New homes are often ‘smart’ homes, packed with voice-activated and remote-controlled gadgets designed to make your life easier. They are the latest step on the journey towards ‘connected domesticity’, performing functions such as allowing you to see who is at the door, turn on the heating and dim the lights even when you’re not at home. Some can even play your favourite song as soon as your face is recognised by the smart door and you walk in!
Audio Some of the most interesting additions are automation and audio-video infrastructure, including discreet speakers throughout the home as well as outdoor areas. Music servers, playlists and streaming services allow you to walk from room to room with the sound of a favourite radio show, album or playlist following you. This has become a reality in smart home technology and is very often an option in new-build homes.
Lighting New homes can offer intelligent exterior lighting – programmed to react to schedules, astronomic clocks, incoming and outgoing vehicle direction, and occupancy. Indoors, home lighting doesn’t have to be restricted to just the simple ceiling pendant. Mood lighting combines a variety of different lighting types such as downlights, ceiling lights, concealed lights and much more. By combining these lighting types and using coloured light, you can create various lighting scenes for watching TV, reading a book, hosting a dinner party or having a relaxing bath. You can also install lights that turn on and off as you enter and exit a room.
Security There are dozens of WIFI-enabled security camera systems marketed to the domestic user these days, but we are now seeing facial recognition abilities so that only those programmed as friends or family can get access to the home. No need to change the locks – just block a caller!
Window dressing Voice-activated, smartphone-connected blinds or curtains will open and close on command.
Instant hot water This feature has been available for some time – but things have moved on. The latest versions now also dispense sparkling and chilled water direct from the tap. The new function makes life in the kitchen even easier. It saves you time and space, means you no longer need to buy your sparkling water in plastic bottles, and is completely safe.
Renewable heating alternatives Not new and not really a gadget, but the prevalence of renewable heating alternatives shows that developers are aware of the environment. The benefits are:
- You could be entitled to receive government payments through the Renewable Heat Incentive.
- Reduced energy bills.
- Easy to maintain, saving you money on potential repair costs.
- More efficient than conventional heating systems.
- Renewable energy source (heat from air or underground) whereas fossil fuels will run out eventually
Electric car charging The other area which has changed is the increasing number of electric cars that are being sold. England will be the first country in the world to introduce mandatory electric car charging points for new-build homes. All new homes in England will have to be fitted with charge points for electric vehicles, as the Government seeks to facilitate the infrastructure improvements necessary for the planned mass-adoption of electric vehicles. The news comes as the Department for Transport has announced a public consultation on the subject. If the planned changes to building regulations go through, it would force homebuilders to install charge points so potential owners could easily charge their plug-in hybrids and electric cars at home. The move would mean buyers of new-build homes would not need to make use of the Government’s home charger subsidy scheme, which has seen almost 100,000 wall boxes installed.
And once you move in… The iKuddle detects when your cat enters the tray, scoops up the soiled litter, automatically seals it in an airtight bag, and dispenses a burst of deodorant to get rid of unwelcome odours.
Now that is cool – but let’s hope the power doesn’t fail!