Residential builders: Are you developing ‘smart’ homes? Technology is advancing at a very rapid rate, and buyers want the latest gadgets and gizmos in homes to enable an increasingly connected lifestyle. If you aren’t already incorporating technologies into the home, now might be the time to start.

Some builders have built prototype and model homes with an outlet for electric vehicles to demonstrate the home’s ability to power EVs (electric vehicles). Other builders have gone a step further and are prewiring new homes in order to accommodate electric vehicle charging stations for future homeowners. KB Home, www.kbhome.com, Los Angeles, Calif., is one such builder that is offering this as an option nationwide in order to facilitate the future installation of vehicle charging stations.

EV Connect, www.evconnect.com, Culver City, Calif., a provider of electric vehicle infrastructure solutions, is now working on several state-funded infrastructure projects and has an exclusive agreement with Fisker Automotive, www.fiskerautomotive.com, Anaheim, Calif., to install and maintain home charging stations.

The EV charging station is a big consideration for homebuilders. The next step in that trend will be the energy-management platform to manage and monitor the EV charging station.

A recent announcement of a smart energy home is bringing the connected vehicle together with the smart grid, giving buyers the ability to control the EV charging station from an energy-management application.

This news comes from Tendril, www.tendrilinc.com, Boulder, Colo., and BMW of North America, www.bmwgroupna.com, Woodcliff Lake, Calif., which are demonstrating such technology at a smart energy home in California. The home includes smart thermostats, a solar panel installation, home appliances, lighting controls, and other smart devices.

This type of technology will allow homeowners to connect and charge electric vehicles from an energy-management application. Utilities and service providers can also provide consumers with information to balance loads and manage costs.

For builders, some of the biggest considerations with all this advancing technology include whether or not to prewire the home for EV charging stations and AHT (automated home technology). In many cases, putting the correct infrastructure into a home now could prepare for an upswing in technology trends in the future.