Efficiency and Sentience; a Better Home of the Future

Contemporary developments in housing have always been designed to meet consumer demands. In the wake of recent global responsiveness to climate change, efforts to improve energy consumption have been made in the industry. Advancements in clean and sustainable energy are conducive to viable solutions which are now actively being employed in new housing, as well as in older homes. However, these solutions work in the old model of simply supplying energy in the form of heat and electricity and may not achieve the full needs of the homeowner. My future home will be designed with intrinsic technology, built into the very dwelling. It will not only meet up to the moment energy demands, but will improve ease of living in all aspects of home ownership while at the same time decreasing my own carbon footprint.
I have lived in the northeast all of my life, so my knowledge of architecture in other parts of the world is somewhat limited. Housing in my area uses a lot of lumber, brick and various metals. Due to geographical environmental factors, the materials used in my future home will vary depending on those which are needed and available in the region I choose to live in. For example: cement in southern climates or clay roofing in the west.
Assuming that I stay in the northeast both heating and cooling will be an important consideration. My parents used to point out the houses with more icicles on them, saying that winter was the best time to notice flaws in construction. This is because houses with more icicles have inadequate insulation; more heat escapes, melting the snow on top, forming icicles. No system is one hundred percent energy efficient, but advances in insulation can make it so a stable temperature is kept inside. Closed-cell spray polyurethane foam insulation provides higher resistance to heat flow, and therefore offers a greener, more efficient alternative to traditional fiberglass insulation. My future house will incorporate materials like this so less money and energy is spent heating and cooling my home.
To keep energy consumption low my home would include devices to produce electricity from renewable sources. Solar panels would be built into the roof, in the form of solar shingles, instead of added on after at a higher cost. This green energy would reduce the amount of energy taken from outside sources, such as power plants, effectively reducing both homeowner costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
However, better insulation and sustainable energy does not solve all of a homeowners energy issues. Ingrained habits, such as leaving lights on or falling asleep in front of the television, can waste energy as well. Water is also something that is wasted by homeowners on a daily basis.
My ideal home would have an artificial intelligence system built in which would manage many things and make automatic decisions for improvement. A.I. would take measurements for usage of electricity, turning appliances off or on as necessary. Heating and cooling needs would be calculated and those areas would immediately be adjusted for optimal energy needs.
By utilizing different sensors, an A.I. system could improve home maintenance by noticing things like thermal leaks and notifying the homeowner or fixing them itself. Vacuum bots, self cleaning facilities, and other home maintenance systems would be linked into the system for better coordination and efficiency.
An A.I. system could also help manage home security and safety systems. Potential threats would be identified immediately and an appropriate response would be initiated. By coordinating with local police and other emergency services, it could potentially make home life much safer and deter future robberies, fires, and other emergencies. Future systems would not only detect, but be able to seek out potential threats with the same accuracy as an actual security official. This differs from traditional security systems which simply wait for the suspected individual to walk across a motion tracker or break a pane of glass. The A.I. system could also act as an effective doorman, detecting when I arrived home and shutting down the intruder system when not needed.
Certainly some current advances in these areas come close to this level but they are not yet a household standard. Josh.ai works from an app on a tablet or phone to control the lights and stereo system, however it is not yet built directly into the home’s design. My future home would have this kind of A.I. system built into the house itself.
In addition to the indwelling use of A.I., another aspect to a home is the use of space. Today’s housing has a very defined use of space and the versatility of that area is limited. Kinetic buildings could help future homeowners with their use of space. This type of housing would be designed with the ability to change to fit the needs of the homeowner at any time. For instance, say I wanted to create a larger area to accommodate a party for a hundred guests. The traditional layout of my home would not function well enough for such a large gathering. Having the ability to move walls within the home to redesign my spatial needs would be a huge advantage.
A home would also need to keep up with other technological advances. Take electric sockets for example. Newer homes have USB charging ports built into these wall sockets. My house would have even more advanced appliances like these to keep up with the ever changing world of communications and entertainment devices.
Ongoing advancements in technology will create my home of the future; one that will communicate with me, notifying me of threats when they arise and providing me with recommendations. It will make decisions based on intelligent design, feedback and my own personal choices. It will mold to fit my ever changing needs while still staying secure and energy efficient. This new home will be better both for the environment and for me as a homeowner. I can’t wait to move in.