No doubt about it, your new log home will include some great technology. With all that’s out there plus innovations we haven’t even considered, future proofing your new log home is an important part of planning and design.
Solar Ready for the Future
Even if you hadn’t considered solar panels for your new home, chances are pretty strong that solar could be a part of your energy future. We’ve made it easy for our customers to include solar in the design discussion with our Solar Ready Homes program with ReVision Energy for homes to be constructed in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. If you’re building out of that region, we can connect you with a solar supplier and coordinate design changes for your home to maximize your present and future solar capabilities. Don’t forget energy storage in your plans as net metering programs become less available. Include wiring a room for a Tesla Wall unit or other battery storage option.
Smart Wiring for Smart Home Technology
While some tech sites recommend wiring for technology in rooms where you think you’ll need Ethernet connections, the current trends indicate that there’s probably going to be a tech “something” in just about every room in the home. Beyond computers, televisions, smart appliances and home controls, other new elements may come into play. Think about the potential for monitoring systems in basements or attics, to ensure proper air flow or warn of water damage. While it may not be practical to run wiring to every room, at minimum install extra conduits inside the log walls so that future wiring can be pulled without too much hassle.
Tackling Wi-Fi Bandwidth
You may already be battling Wi-Fi bandwidth with connected smart phones, television, laptops and pads. Add “smart” appliances and your bandwidth will feel the effects. Hard wiring smart appliances can reserve your Wi-Fi for laptops, smartphones and tablets. Consider adding a separate router dedicated to smart appliances only. These appliances typically have fewer security safeguards in place and need to be separate from your connected devices containing sensitive information.
Pick a Whole Smart Home Standard Platform
Right now, there are three major smart home platforms, each with a different “assistant”— Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant. Your choice may depend on your existing software and hardware, or may be based on the end products that are linked and powered via these platforms. Appliance manufacturers have taken a middle road, offering their app controls as available through most platforms. Each offers benefits and downsides, with some (Apple) excelling in security, while others excel in interface (Amazon) and commerce. Most offer smart plug interfaces to control plugged in appliances that are not smart wired. Coordinating your heating and cooling with a smart system thermostat is another important interface to consider when selecting a platform. For a detailed rundown on these platforms, pros and cons, check out this New York Times article, “How to Make Your House a Smart Home.”
Make Room for Power Storage
Whether or not you’re including solar panels in your home design, storing power is the new alternative to power back-up generators. New technology in batteries have yielded sensible and streamlined power storage options for residential use. Tesla Wall takes their electric car battery technology and offers a supply for an electric vehicle or for peak hour power consumption. You’ll want to include appropriate wiring for both the battery storage units and an inverter to switch DC to AC for domestic appliances. Even if you’re not adding storage batteries now, running conduit or planning an extra 220-volt power circuit may make upgrades easier later on.
No matter how much you include to future proof your home, it’s great to know what your options are.