Automation is coming to new homes—and not just custom-built houses. No longer an upgrade, home-automation systems are more frequently included as a standard feature in production homes being built today. Are your homes ready and wired for today’s homebuyer?
KB Home, www.kbhome.com, Los Angeles, Calif., is one of the latest homebuilders to announce all of its new homes will include a home-management system as a standard feature, giving new homebuyers the ability to track a home’s energy consumption via a Web portal that can be accessed on mobile devices and home computers.
The homebuilder is now including the Wiser home-management system from Schneider Electric, www.schneider-electric.com, Palatine, Ill., in new homes. This gives homeowners the ability to track consumption and reduce or shift energy use during peak times, leading to lower cost of energy. Additionally, buyers can choose to upgrade to a Wiser thermostat and can enhance the home-automation features to include remote monitoring of doors, lighting, and security system operations.
Today’s consumers want smart homes to accompany the wide range of connected devices in their lives. Builders equipping homes with automation systems are prepared to offer buyers some of the most intelligent production homes available. Belman Homes, www.belmanhomes.com, Waukesha, Wis., is another example of a homebuilder that has been offering home-automation systems as a standard feature in each new home it has built since January.
For years, analysts have been predicting the growth of smart buildings and smart homes. Now, the time has come when more builders and corporate owners are incorporating building-automation systems in facilities.
Consider what is happening on the commercial side of the construction market. Dan Probst, chairman of Energy and Sustainability Services at Jones Lang LaSalle, www.joneslanglasalle.com, Chicago, Ill., says, “Even five years ago, remote monitoring and control of an entire portfolio of properties was not possible. Owners and investors are now realizing that the return on smarter building management is worth the investment and can potentially pay for itself within one or two years.”
Jones Lang LaSalle identifies the top technologies that can contribute to making a building smarter: wireless meters and sensors; the Internet and cloud; open data protocols; analytics; remote control; and integrated work-order management. The ability to remotely monitor an entire portfolio of buildings gives property owners the ability to improve performance and save energy.
The potential for cost savings will be one of the key factors that will drive smart buildings and the smart grid forward on the commercial side of the market. For builders the advantage remains clear: being able to give prospects control of the home can help sell more properties. In the future, this may no longer be a competitive advantage; homebuyers could soon come to expect this technology standard in new homes.