Everyone wants to save money, make life easier, and frankly, have cool gadgets in the home. While some features are more practical than others, consider these advances in new home tech for your new or remodeled home.
Advances in home automation make it possible for virtually everything in your home to work together—from lighting, energy use, heating and cooling, security systems, door locks, garage doors, pools, home entertainment, and more. The options are limitless and it can all be controlled—even remotely—from a single screen, touch pad, or smart phone (iPad, iPhone, Android).
Some companies today make products that do what many new technologies only promise to do: make life easier by combining all of your home automation controls into one touch pad. Control devices can be retrofitted with components that “talk” to your home’s electronics—from the thermostat and alarm to the home entertainment system.
We have all heard this one before, but we’ve been waiting for a breakthrough in residential solar, and here it is. A solar system can produce 20 to 100% of the annual power needed to run a home. In Ontario we even have government backed homeowner incentive programs to help get you started and with the incentives the electricity off the roof is close to the same as buying power from Hydro One. Add future rate increase(s) and the solar electricity gets cheaper every year.
Check out Solar Ontario for some more info.
INDOOR KITCHEN COMPOSTING:
While not quite as cool as home automation or outdoor media systems, indoor composting can be as easy as throwing out the trash—and a lot less smelly.
A home composter sporting a carbon odor filter and an automated grinder that renders garden-ready fertilizer in just two weeks is available in the Linkyo Kitchen Composter. The indoor/outdoor bin slips inside any standard 15-inch-wide base cabinet. Install it under kitchen countertops for easy access while working in the kitchen.
Not every dark room is suitable for a skylight. The room may not have space on the ceiling or the attic may have obstructions. The Velux Sun Tunnel is a flexible tube that can navigate rocky paths out to the light and deliver into the room a small, round portal of light (14 inches or 21 inches in diameter).
These tunnels can bring light to typically dark areas of the house—closets, hallways, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Plus, the design is a lot more elegant than the typical window-on-the-ceiling skylight.
WIRELESS SPEAKERS IN CAN LIGHTS:
Can lights are small circular lights inset in the ceiling. They add elegance to any room. Now you can have the advantage of combining can lighting with ceiling speakers.
The Klipsch LightSpeaker system, which won the innovation award at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, is particularly cool because the speakers are wireless and install like a light bulb—just screw them in.
You can program each system for two different zones, so you can listen to different music in different rooms. Let there be light—and sound!
SMART GRID APPLIANCES:
As you work toward making your house interconnected, master-controlled, and wireless, don’t leave out the washing machine.
LG and other companies are increasingly offering smart grid appliances that you can control from your smart phone or tablet computer—or even remotely. When you’re on vacation, you won’t need to wash a load of laundry back home, but with this new technology you can monitor the energy use of each appliance and diagnose problems from ANYWHERE.
You’ll also soon be able to determine how much electricity or gas your appliances are using. With this knowledge, you can adjust when you use your dishwasher or dryer based on your utility’s peak time. Peak times are high-usage hours, and utility companies charge more during those times.
Setting your appliances to operate in low-usage times IS smart! And wouldn’t it be cool to tell your laser robot vacuum to have the house cleaned before you get home.