4 Trends That Predict the Home of Tomorrow

New chimney-less, smoke-less fireplaces are bringing a bit of the future to the present. This portable fireplace warms the room with real flames, burning bioethanol derived from plant by-products. Image: Imaginfires

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The home of tomorrow isn’t about Jetson-esque wonders and smartphone apps. It’s about home value, the environment, and our lifestyles. In an effort to predict what home features will be most valued in 25 years, we 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.

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 picked 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 picked this prediction: In the future, the real big boppers 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 yearly energy bills.

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 picked 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.

Check out this video for more on the Smart Grid:

What is the Smart Grid?

U.S. Department of Energy

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 picked 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.

Tip: Fireplaces are hot right now. They’re something homebuyers really covet according to the “2013 Home Features Survey” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Nowadays the latest in fireplace technology are systems that burn denatured alcohol. They can warm up a room and burn for up to 24 hours. Even better, they don’t emit smoke, so no chimney is required.

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 picked this prediction: Thanks to climate change and our aging power grid, blackouts are becoming more common. The Department of Energy says that thunderstorms, hurricanes, and blizzards account for 58% of outages in the U.S. since 2002.

Tip: Futurists are predicting that USB ports will become the power outlets of the not so distant future. Luckily for you, quick charge ports are available now.

Wall outlet with USB ports in kitchenImage: Leviton

3. The Locally Grown Movement

The desire to eat healthier, better-tasting foods continues to increase. This will make indoor gardens more common.

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 picked 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. Sophisticated Appliances and Fixtures

General Electric recently revealed their vision for the home of the not too distant future — 2025 to be exact.  Their vision is not about smartphone apps controlling our homes, but about the things in our abodes working harder.

Faucets: They won’t be just for water. They will also dispense ice, various beverages, and vitamins.

Mock up of future faucet that dispenses more than just waterImage: GE Appliances

Kitchen sinks: They will also do double duty as dishwashers. The in-sink dishwasher will wash small loads in just a couple of minutes.

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 picked GE’s predictions: 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.

Tip: Remodeling your kitchen soon? We have ideas that will make your kitchen timeless and functional.

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