I don’t know if you’ve seen our Home of the Year winner, which is actually a green home. It’s a very cool house, with solar panels providing much of the home’s electricity, a Control4 lighting control system that saves energy on lighting use, Lutron Sivoia QED motorized shades that roll down during the day to keep a room cool, and an “Energy Miser” scene that automatically shuts off lights and electronics after someone has left a room. And those are just the highlights.
There are also Energy Star-rated appliances and Sony LCD TVs, and a lot of water conservation measures. There’s even a Toto EcoPower automatic faucet that recharges itself via the flow of water. Very cool.
We recently did a video shoot at the house, and what struck me about being there, besides the striking design and cool green aspects, was that it a lot of the electronics systems in the house are within reasonable economic reach for most of us. Sure, solar panels can be costly. But a Control4 system, for example, isn’t near as expensive as some other automation systems. Energy Star-rated appliances and TVs are within most people’s grasp. Even putting motorized shades in a few key windows isn’t going to break the bank.
The house is called Casa Futura, and it’s intended as a showcase of what future green homes will be like. That’s probably accurate, because it will likely take a while for energy efficient electronics to catch on. But a lot of what’s in this house many of us can do today. We’ll likely see more and more systems like those in this home, including devices that can recharge themselves for basic functions. There’s a lot of investment happening in alternative energies today. There’s legislation on the way to mandate higher efficiencies, and electronics makers are feeling the pressure to provide more efficient products. Casa Futura may be a peek into our future, but it is only a beginning.