Winter is finally upon us, and it may turn out to be a long slog for some of us around the globe. Problem is when the temperatures drop our electricity and heating bills tend to soar. Luckily for us, a few design trends and smart home tech products have surfaced that endeavor to make our dwellings more energy efficient and swanky at the same time.
ContraFlow’s water underfloor heating system. Photo courtesy of ContraFlow
From my days of living in Seoul and Gangneung many eons ago (well over a decade now), one of my fondest memories has always been of my tech heavy flats with the heated hardwood floors. Why they never quite caught on in the west has been beyond me for some time now. But now the consensus among interior designers is that heated floors are the ones to bet on for 2017. Variations range from in-floor heating systems to heated tile systems to under floor heating systems. Regardless of which layer of tech you add to your home, the concept is certainly more cost and energy efficient than heating the home through the conventional methods. The heat is evenly distributed throughout the floor and uses a lower temperature to heat the home than your traditional radiator.
The GE Micro Kitchen uses 6ft of space. Photo courtesy of GE.
Both Google and Apple have released their respective versions of the connected home with a constellation of products that can be operated remotely by the sound of your own voice. But they’re not the only ones in the smart home game. GE has a connected kitchen that not only is remotely controlled but also maximizes the amount of space you have at your fingertips. GE’s micro kitchen idea is for something like the dishwasher and sinks to multitask, saving you the burden of cluttering your kitchen with one too many appliances and accessories. The dishwasher, for instance, can even independently order new dish washing detergent when it runs low on stock. The micro kitchen, which first debuted in 2014, has taken on new legs this year. It’s essentially your dishwasher, sink, refrigerator, and microwave all in one. We’re tempted to mention Samsung’s smart oven, but given Samsung’s unfortunate history with exploding products…
A home lit by Philips wireless lighting. Photo courtesy of Philips.
Although often lumped into the same category as connected appliances, smart lighting deserves its own category because of the ingenuity involved in simply illuminating the entire home from one hub. There are a number of brands, most notably Philips Hue, which offer homeowners the possibility to minimize their energy output with a system that can be controlled remotely and choreographed to your daily habits. Generally speaking, the smart lighting trend offers a hub where several lighting displays can be connected using smart bulbs. The initial investment may be costly but in the long run you end up using less juice and restocking up on bulbs every blue moon. Philips Hue promises up to 50 bulbs for a single hub.