By Bob Walsmith Jr.
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors
The home of tomorrow isn’t about Jetson-esque wonders and smartphone apps. It’s about home value, natural resources, and our lifestyles.
To predict what home features will be most valued in 25 years, let’s focus on four rising trends:
#1 Extreme Energy Efficiency
Utility bills are expected to skyrocket over the next couple of decades. This will result in sustainable updates that push the green needle of household standards.
Energy dashboards: You know how cars share the miles per gallon we’re getting? An energy dashboard will do the same for our homes.
Why we made this prediction: It’s all about the emerging technologies that will surround the future modernization of the electric grid. Called the Smart Grid, it will allow a two–way dialogue between homeowners and their utility companies so we can understand our energy use and its costs in real time.
Waterless toilets: Nope, we aren’t talking about porta potties, but clean and sanitary indoor thrones that will one-up low flush loos.
Why we made this prediction: It makes sense since residential water rates are rising in the U.S., and toilets are responsible for nearly 27% of our total water use. Plus, Dow Chemical says waterless toilets will become a household standard.
Grey water systems: According to Energy.gov, systems like these currently reuse up to 60% of your household water for watering the lawn and flushing toilets.
Why we made this prediction: The real big boppers among home of tomorrow trends will be high-tech purification systems that return wastewater to drinking-quality level. A good example is the orbital shower. This concept saves 90% of the water and 80% of the energy used, trimming as much as $1,000 off of yearly energy bills.
Garages wired for the electric vehicle revolution: Energy.gov predicts we will be charging our vehicles at home, and filling up at the gas stations less. This is based on the growing number of electric vehicle sales across the U.S.
Why we made this prediction: One city has already embraced this idea. In Palo Alto, Calif., building code requires new homes to come pre-wired for electric car chargers.
#2 The Rise of Super Storms
Since super storms are becoming the norm, homeowners can be left without electricity for weeks, even months — as they were after Hurricane Sandy.
Whole house generator: This will allow people to live comfortably until their power is restored. FYI, homeowners can currently recoup 52% of the cost of a midrange electrical backup system.
Why we made this prediction: Thanks to extreme weather and our aging power grid, blackouts are becoming more common. The Department of Energy says thunderstorms, hurricanes, and blizzards account for 58% of outages in the U.S. since 2002.
Tip: Futurists predict that USB ports will become the power outlets of the not so distant future. Luckily, quick charge ports are available now.
#3 The Locally-Grown Movement
The desire to eat healthier, better-tasting foods continues to increase. This will make indoor gardens common among our home of tomorrow trends.
Edible indoor kitchen gardens: These hydroponic systems will add to home enjoyment by allowing people to create the farm to table experience in their own kitchens.
Why we made this prediction: Urban farming has been on the rise. It combats rising food prices and reduces the energy consumption of transporting food.
Tip: Bringing nature inside can create a more healthy and happy living environment. Fragrant plants can chase away the winter blues, while others can combat household air pollution.
#4 Smart Home Stuff
Kitchen sinks: They will do double duty as dishwashers. The in-sink dishwasher will wash small loads in just a couple of minutes.
Faucets: They won’t be just for water. They will also dispense ice, various beverages, and vitamins.
Laundry machines: They will clean and fold clothing into compact pellets. This will be a big space saver and allow consumers to carry an entire outfit in a small gym bag or purse.
Why we made this prediction: Smartphones have replaced the need for other items like alarm clocks and cameras. With that idea in mind, it makes sense that countertop appliances will become replaced by multi-purpose “uber appliances” that make our lives a little bit easier.
Bob Walsmith Jr. is a native to Southern California and a Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Santa Barbara. During his work with the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, Bob has served on the CORE Committee, Education Committee, been Chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, and the Multiple Listing Service Committee. He also is on the Board of Directors of the Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara. Bob lives in Goleta with his beautiful wife Julie. When not working, Bob enjoys playing golf, fine wine, fine dining, and walking our beautiful coastline. Bob can be reached at 805.720.5362 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org