4 technologies to watch for homes of the future

Your home is constantly changing. Whether it's repainting a bedroom, updating a kitchen or redecorating a living room, it’s no secret that people love to add new features to their home. Those who care about sustainability might wonder, “How can I refresh my home to be more green?”

Recent technologies offer potential new energy-efficient features for homes. Not only are these developments modern and sustainable, they are also cost-efficient. These new technologies could be a great asset to your residence.

Here’s a breakdown of four top trends:

1. Smart windows through nanotechnology

Buildings in the United States leak approximately 30 percent of their energy through inefficient windows. In 2017, Princeton University researchers developed a new and improved style of smart window that controls how much light and heat enters a building. These windows include transparent solar cells that self-power the window, and are able to save approximately one-quarter of a building’s electricity needs. Eventually, homeowners may be able to use an app on their phone to adjust the amount of sunlight entering through their windows.

2. Energy-saving wall panels

Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are a form of sandwich panel, the major elements of which are foam and oriented strand board. As opposed to other systems for structural building, these components take less energy and materials to produce. New advances in the panels have improved the insulation of buildings, due to the use of different materials. For example, some manufacturers are now producing SIPs with graphite polystyrene insulation, which can help increase the panel’s R-value (a measurement of the effectiveness of insulation as a thermal barrier).

3. Green roofs

Green vegetative roofing systems have been around for a few years and have many many benefits, including reducing stormwater runoff and heating and air conditioning costs. With recent technology, though, green roofing has made even more progress. Certain green roofing systems can now extend a roof’s life even more, and even increase energy efficiency after the roof is built. Waterproofing membranes used in these systems incorporate PVC, a material which can shield a roof from ultraviolet rays and extreme temperatures, which are normally key factors in shortening the life cycle of a roof.

Supplies for residential green roofing can start as low as $20 per square foot, according to Forbes, and you can choose a design that works for your type of home and roofline.

4. Cross-laminated timber

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) was first invented in Germany in the 1990s, but has recently become a more available material for flooring. CLT offers many advantages in terms of energy efficiency, including good thermal performance, and can be made in dimensions up to 40 feet long, 10 feet wide, and over 12 inches thick.

Around 63 percent of a tree can be used in making solid lumber, but CLT panels can use 95 percent or more of the tree. CoLab, a new facility in Virginia for the research and testing of new technologies for the construction industry, uses CLT throughout the building. As a technology for home builds, CLT may be well suited for small construction because of its aesthetic appearance and structural strength.

Learn about automated window treatment technology