There has been a lot of talk lately about smart-home technology, especially with the recent IBS (Intl. Buidlers Show). In fact, this discussion has been happening for more than a decade—back when the term was AHT (automated home technology). But has all that hype had an impact on homes?

RE/MAX suggests that in the Chicago area changes have been noticeable, but generally modest. The organization indicates that brokers say while some smart home products are popular, few truly meet the definition of a smart home.

Perhaps part of the challenge is that while homeowners want potential energy savings and connectivity to permeate every aspect of their lives, few understand how that translates into the home. In fact, RE/MAX says it may take another generational changing of the guard to make the smart home truly widespread.

The good news is homebuilders recognize that this trend is beginning to come into fruition, and are beginning to build communities with more smart-home features and energy-savings capabilities.

One examples comes from Pearl Homes, which recently unveiled the Hunters Point Resort and Marina and its zero-energy-ready Pearl Home. This integrates advanced environmental technology, reducing net zero energy use and driving down utility costs toward zero.

This is done through the use of PV rooftop solar panels, battery storage system, an electric car, and Panasonic Smart Community technology, which includes high-speed fiber-optic network, smart street lighting, enhanced security monitoring, and improved public services.

In order to implement the technology, the team has partnered with the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program and the Florida Solar Energy Center.

By 2020, Pearl Homes plans to build more than 1,000 zero energy homes across multiple communities in the Florida area.

While there are many pockets of the country that have very innovative and unique smart homes such as this, the trend is still just emerging—even though the industry has been talking about it for more than 10 years.

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