Fifty years ago this summer, man first walked on the moon, and decades later, it still stands as one of the greatest technological achievements of all time. Technology has moved on considerably since Neil Armstrong put on his helmet - it’s often said that our phones nowadays have more computing power than the entirety of NASA did in 1969 - and it’s changed our lives in countless ways. And while we may still be working on building a lunar community, our homes here on earth are a place where technology continues to evolve.
Here are four predictions for how our homes will change in the future - a future that you might be able to get started on right away.
Many of us have made the leap to embracing a smart home, where our gadgets and appliances are all connected via the internet so they can work alongside each other and controlled centrally, via your phone or tablet. Smart speakers or displays are relatively commonplace now, allowing families to use their voice to complete a huge array of tasks, from setting alarms and playing music, to compiling shopping lists and making phone calls.
Smart locks and doorbells are also becoming increasingly popular, giving people the opportunity to monitor their home security from their phones and control access, for example being able to let tradespeople into the house even when the homeowner is away. Controlling your heating from your phone rather than fiddling with a fussy thermostat is common now, and in the future, even more of our devices will be able to function like this, with everything being able to be controlled remotely while feeding back updates - you just need to make sure you have enough plug sockets to cope with all the devices, an issue any electrician will be able to help with.
We’re all more aware than ever of our carbon footprint, and the house of the future will reflect that by being more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than ever before. While nearly every home still relies on the National Grid for power, many families have already installed solar panels to help produce their own electricity, while some have also installed wind turbines to help make their energy consumption more renewables-based.
When it comes to heating, air source and ground source heat pumps will become more and more common, absorbing heat from either the air or earth and using a heat exchanger to transfer this into your home where it can heat radiators, underfloor heating systems and even water. Insulation will improve too, with triple glazing becoming more and more standard, helping to keep heat in or out and cutting your bills in the process. A window fitter or heating engineer can advise you on getting started with any of these projects.
Rise of the robots
We’re still not at the stage where robot butler serve us drinks before taking care of the washing up, but automated appliances have already started to make themselves known in our homes. Robotic vacuum cleaners which can patrol a room cleaning up dust and hair while navigating around furniture are relatively common, and if you find mowing the lawn to be a chore, don’t worry - robotic lawn mowers are on the rise, and they can guarantee football pitch-worthy patterns without you having to lift a finger.
A seismic shift will come when self-driving cars arrive on our roads and in our driveways. Although they might still be a few years off, electric vehicles have become increasingly popular. Like a phone, they can simply be charged overnight, but for the best results you’ll want to install a dedicated charging point in your garage or driveway, a task for a competent electrician.
Building for the future
It won’t just be the things inside our homes that change with new technology - it will be our homes themselves, and the way they’re constructed. The traditional brick and block method which has been used for generations will give way to new techniques, increasingly relying on modular construction, assembling pre-built segments that were constructed in a factory. This means building will be quicker and home designs can be more flexible, allowing for more personalised spaces more fitted to our needs.
We’ll also see a rise in the use of more sustainable materials, with the environmental impact becoming a key aspect of how our homes are designed and built. Forward-thinking architects are already designing new homes and extensions to meet these challenges and embrace the future now - and they can do the same for your project.