Speak the Home Builders’ Language
I jetted down to Orlando, Fla., this month to attend a day and a half of the International Builders’ Show. (I know, it’s rough to leave phrigid Philly behind in February, but someone had to take one for the team.)
Next year, I hope to attend at least two days of this huge show, because so much of interest to our industry was happening.
Or not happening. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Several companies from our industry exhibited— lighting control and home automation outfits, mostly. Most resided in a common area tucked away from the main action. Companies on hand included Lutron, Vantage/Legrand, CentraLite, Control4, Leviton, Exceptional Innovation, HAI, Channel Vision, On-Q/Legrand, Sony and Sharp, as well as many of our friends from the central vacuum and climate control categories. The Consumer Electronics Association and its TechHome division had a presence as well.
Here’s the thing, though.
Electronics, it seemed, still aren’t nearly as top-of-mind with home builders as you’d expect (and hope) at this stage.
I attended a press conference given by National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Vice President of Research Gopal Ahluwalia that addressed “The Home of the Future,” the future in this case being 2015, which doesn’t sound all that far off, but seriously, in 1999, didn’t 2007 sound far off? And hasn’t the world changed immensely in the past eight years?
Anyhow, when people in our industry hear the lofty, aspirational term “Home of the Future,” their minds naturally turn to electronics, particularly whole-home entertainment, networking and automation/control.
Not so in the home builders’ industry.
Ahluwalia’s study, based on polls of architects, designers, marketers and manufacturers, focused on what buyers could expect to find in “average” and “upscale” single-family homes in 2015.
It found the pace of change in new homes will accelerate. It predicted homes will be much more “green”, or energy-efficient, than they are today. Universal design and handicap access will grow in emphasis. Interestingly, average home sizes are expected to remain as they are today (about 2,400 square feet), although more two-story homes are coming.