A Guide to Future-Proofing a New Home
The idea of future-proofing a home indicates the inclusion of advanced amenities and technologies within the construction. Automated locks on doors and charging stations for electric cars are current examples of future conveniences that may be built into your house. Moreover, it’s a call for people to become more energy conscious by using efficient appliances and energy-saving devices.
Future-proofing a home has numerous benefits, including future investment value, comfort, and family needs. It may also save you money if your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover all types of natural disasters (which many policies do not). Other advantages include:
- Future technology compatibility: As new technologies and innovations emerge, people want to ensure they incorporate these into their homes.
- Enhanced security: With new technology comes enhanced security. Smart door locks, security cameras and other features will make the home safer for owners.
- Reduced future renovation costs and time: By planning for future renovations and updates, the inconvenience of ripping out walls or tearing down finished ceilings can be avoided.
- Future energy conservation: By using more energy-efficient appliances and devices, homeowners can save on power bills.
- Increased accessibility: Technology such as smart door locks and voice-activated home controls will allow easier access to the home. This added convenience is important for people who need assistance in their daily lives.
- Increased resale: If the homeowner should choose to sell their home, having already incorporated future conveniences can attract potential buyers.
- Environmental responsibility: Along with reducing energy consumption, future-proofing your home can also contribute to a more sustainable environment by favoring renewable energy sources.
As technology evolves, you will have the option of further updating your home’s technology or simply replacing outdated devices that no longer serve their purpose.
Integrate Smart Technology
The smart home revolution has changed the way homes are built. People can now get more out of their homes with voice-activated controls and remote monitoring through apps on their smartphones.
When it comes to integrating technology into your new or existing home, you must carefully evaluate compatibility with future technologies. While the upfront cost may be more expensive, the benefits of future-proofing your home outweigh this initial investment.
Moreover, the process of wiring and installing smart technology is often simple and easily done when you’re designing your home. This means that when the time comes to upgrade, you will only need to replace certain devices rather than having to rewire new cables into your walls. Thus, maintenance costs and risks to the structure can be eliminated.
Install Energy-Efficient Appliances
Energy-efficient appliances are the number one way to reduce your home energy costs. If you choose energy-saving appliances with a high Energy Star rating, you’ll be able to save on monthly utility bills while still keeping comfort standards high.
New homes have a unique advantage because the appliances can be included in the build process. Pre-existing homes would require a renovation or upgrade to incorporate new appliances, but they still can benefit from more-efficient models.
If you’re considering a pre-existing home or a new build, make sure to consider your future needs carefully. Contact your local utility company for energy efficiency recommendations if you’re unsure which appliances will best suit you.
Invest in Sustainable Energy
With the ever-increasing demand for energy, homeowners are now opting for more sustainable sources that will reduce their carbon footprint and help power their homes. This can include installing solar panels or investing in a ground source heat pump.
What’s more, federal, state, and local governments, as well as electricity providers, encourage investment in and usage of renewable energy. In fact, many programs provide incentives such as tax credits and grants to homeowners who install sustainable energy resources.
To find these incentives, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency® (DSIRE) to view a comprehensive guide of all the programs available.
Use Sustainable Building and Design Materials
Today’s building and design materials not only make the home aesthetically pleasing but also contribute to a healthy and sustainable home. Products made from recycled materials such as reclaimed wood, repurposed furniture, and used building materials require less energy to produce.
Another way to ensure sustainability is by choosing locally sourced products whenever possible. This supports the local economy and reduces the environmental impact of transporting products.
While there are many tips for sustainable interior design, here are a few essential considerations when you’re building a new home:
- Use eco-friendly furnishings: These include organic cotton textiles, sustainable wood and bamboo flooring, natural paints and varnishes, and recycled or reclaimed materials like used bricks and stones.
- Choose sustainable flooring: Natural materials such as cork and bamboo are cost-effective green flooring options popular due to their sturdy structure, comfort, and ability to be recycled.
- Go for low-VOC paints and varnishes: Also, look for options made from non-toxic ingredients like natural clay, limestone, plant oils, and waxes.
No matter your interior design style, using sustainable materials and building practices allows for a healthy and aesthetically pleasing space. On top of that, you can find sustainable building and design materials in many stores, ranging from home improvement chains to local markets.
Build for Accessibility
When you’re planning accessible features, ensure that they are designed for future needs, which means building in flexibility with the hope of staying relevant over time. This may look like:
- Including doorways wide enough for a wheelchair: This will accommodate senior residents now and give the home a longer lifespan before renovations need to be done.
- Adding grab-bars and wider bathrooms: These will accommodate people who may need accessibility now and those who develop age-related disabilities later.
- Going for a universal home design: This involves removing as many barries as possible for day-to-day activities — for example, placing light switches at a lower height.
- Building wheelchair ramps: These will help current and future residents get in and out of the home.
Fortunately, it’s possible to work in many of these features during your new home design and construction process. However, if you want to improve existing construction, ensure accessible features are retrofitted into the design. This could help you avoid expensive future renovations.
When a disaster strikes, the damage to homes and other buildings is not necessarily limited to visible features. By disaster-proofing your home during its construction and renovation, you not only ensure it will be safe from damage but you also help reduce the risk of losing sentimental and irreplaceable heirlooms that are easily ruined.
While disaster-proofing might seem like a daunting task for any home, there are ways to do this with your new construction as well as renovations on an existing home. Moreover, having a long-term plan for preparing your home for an emergency can save you both time and money.
Here are some disaster-proofing tips for both new and existing constructions:
- Invest in a generator: If the power goes out, installing a generator can ensure that your home and family are safe and secure until the local power supply returns.
- Consider installing a fire-proof safe: Keeping important documents like insurance information and birth certificates in one spot ensures they will stay protected from fires or other natural disasters.
- Building a safe room: If the power goes out or there is a fire, you want to have a place in your home where you and your family can go to avoid being harmed by flying debris, smoke inhalation, and so on.
By planning for the unexpected, you can protect your family and home.
Consult With Qualified Professionals
Having a team of qualified professionals can help ensure that your new or existing home is prepared for the future. This means looking at construction, design, and renovations from a different perspective to better understand how the house will stand up against unexpected hazards in the future.
Thus, finding a qualified contractor is crucial when future-proofing your home. An excellent way to find qualified contractors in your area is by asking friends and family for recommendations or looking for local contractors with references from clients whom you can contact directly.
Lastly, consulting a professional on how any changes may affect your current homeowners insurance cost or getting help understanding how much home insurance coverage you need is an important step in long-term planning for your home’s future. This way, you can be sure to create a safe and secure future for your family.