Homes of the future are unlikely to look much different in the next decade, however what could we expect to see in 20,30 or 50 years from now?
Over the past 20 years, technology such as mobile phones have gone from huge clunky devices to small, pocket sized devices with more processing power than computers used during the moon landings.
However, houses and their utilized technology have barely changed during the same timeframe.
Undoubtedly property developers, architects and engineers need to be more innovative and shift away from the traditional builds to keep up with other technologies.
So, what will the houses of the future look like?
In this article, we explore how houses of the future could look like.
- Why we need innovation
- Future house materials
- Interior technologies
- The houses of the future
- Visualising houses of the future
- Are prefab homes the way?
Why there needs to be innovation in property development
Traditional builds using stone or brick and mortar have been the norm for hundreds of years. While they are the cheapest designs to build at scale and have millions of skilled workers able to work on their construction, they do not provide the highest efficiency and the materials are not green.
Houses of the future need to incorporate green materials, excellent efficiency and be completely carbon negative – i.e. they improve the environment during and after construction.
Not only does the environment benefit from innovate builds, but future houses will also improve physical and mental wellbeing of their inhabitants.
Potential materials in houses of the future
Climate change is becoming more and more of a priority to address. In order for the whole global civilization to lead carbon-neutral or negative lives, polluting building materials such as concrete and bricks must be phased out.
There are a few top contending materials which could be incorporated into the houses of the future.
The inner fibres from hemp, when combined with lime creates a strong, durable material similar to concrete but with a fraction of the weight and much less CO2 released as a byproduct.
Bamboo has numerous advantages in construction;
- Grows much faster than traditional timber trees.
- High tensile strength due to the inner fibre alignment.
- Fire resistant. The composition of bamboo can withstand temperatures up to 4000c.
- High modulus of elasticity, which is exceptionally advantageous in earthquake prone zones.
Timbercrete has a similar appearance to concrete, excluding the colour. Timbercrete is a composition of sawdust and concrete, which is much lighter than standard concrete.
Having been used since around 79AD, timber remains a great contender for future properties builds – During growth, the trees absorb CO2, making it a carbon neutral material in the construction of houses.
Mushroom mycelium brickwork
A rather obscure material is mushroom mycelium brickwork, in which cornstalks and mushrooms are mixed and form a block, which are completely organic.
Naturally grown building materials could have the potential to be a core part of future developments, however there definitely needs to be some more R&D in this space before it becomes mainstay.
Technologies of future homes
Along with sustainable building materials, the interiors of future houses must also incorporate energy-efficient technologies and be geared towards sustainable living and provide a meaningful benefit.
We’re not talking about smart speakers, smart electricity meters or any other technology that enhances your life through AI in this section.
The underlying technologies of future homes must utilize all available natural, green resources;
Solar energy can be used for both electricity generation and heating/cooling. It will also be beneficial to harness solar energy for food production in properties that have the space.
It gets windy everywhere, so incorporating technology to utilize this energy would provide another avenue for direct-to-home power generation.
While it doesn’t rain very often in numerous locations across the globe, where it does, properties can become water-self sufficient and collect and harvest rainwater.
Harnessing the power of natural heat can provide properties with a large amount of energy – a few examples of where this is currently utilized are geothermal heating, air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps.
Technology price constraints
It is understandable that energy efficient technologies aren’t being adopted at a fast rate – not everyone has 10s of thousands to invest for a long-term payback time.
Potentially, with more R&D and competition, prices for environmentally friendly energy generation technologies will come down – even more so now that oil is being phased out, which will pave the way to a greener future.
The houses of the future
In the future, houses will ideally not cost a penny to run and could potentially generate an income.
What do we mean by this?
Just to clarify, we don’t mean generating an income from the property through rental income or capital gains.
Properties of the future will incorporate a vast amount of technology to harness mother nature to generate energy and electricity – so much so that electricity and heating bills could be non-existent.
This is known as a sustainable living environment; the construction and building materials are completely sustainable and during the lifetime of the property, it generates more energy than it consumes.
What future houses will look like
In the near future;
Houses won’t change drastically. It’s likely that more properties will incorporate green energy technologies such as solar panels and eco-friendly heating systems – however the majority of near-future changes won’t be completely visible from the exterior (e.g. insulation, smart glass etc).
We’d also expect that more new developments integrate a wide variety of eco-friendly technologies, which will be advantageous for both residents and the environment – less wasted energy and more efficient use of energy along with lower monthly bills.
In the distant future;
There is also no immediate transition to sustainable building materials coming anytime soon, however in the distant future, we may have properties which are constructed from smart materials not yet developed.
There is the potential that houses of the future will be built underground – this actually provides numerous advantages, of which being; less materials required for construction and extreme wind and earthquake resistant and much more energy efficient.
Another potential for houses of the future is that we’ll have space colonies. Undoubtedly, these houses will look vastly different from what humans are used to, if they are to endure the harshness of a planet such as Mars.
Visualizing houses of the future
Houses of the future won’t look like they do today, well, maybe a little – think of how an old horse and cart compares to a Tesla.
Due to advances in technology and sustainable materials, visualizing how the houses of the future will look like is difficult, however we can make reasonable assumptions.
If comparing to some of the materials mentioned above, this type of property could eventually be the norm with the use of timbercrete or mushroom mycelium combinations.
In 1957, it was predicted that these houses would become the norm by 1989! While they were 50-100 years off with their prediction, it may be the norm in the future.
The concept is a rotating house, which is designed around sustainability and hydroponics.
3D Printed homes
Yes you read the title right – companies are cropping up which can 3D print your new home in a matter of hours.
While these use concrete as a base, which isn’t exactly green, they do provide a means for exceptionally fast construction times. If a green substitute can be found for concrete, these futuristic homes could become far more commonplace.
Inspired by nature
This futuristic home is inspired by the manta ray and is partially built into the surrounding ground, providing increased efficiency and insulation.
This property, located in Kuala Lumpur is built from sustainable materials, the majority of which is bamboo. The design prevents the interior from overheating, thus saving on air conditioning costs. It also features a water recycling system.
Are prefabricated homes the way?
Prefabricated property, or prefab homes for short, are the potential answer to rising housing demands.
Prefab housing is constructed in a factory and shipped out to their final location – often this is a much faster, greener method of constructing new properties, which has many benefits:
- Eco friendly, sustainable materials can be utilized easily
- Fast completion time
- Expanding or downsizing is simple
- An excellent solution for a rising housing demand
As prefabricated homes are constructed off-site, incorporating new and revolutionary materials into the design can be done fairly easily, as each home is built to pre-defined blueprints.
Do you think that prefabricated property or shipping container home builds could be the way forward for the houses of the future? Let us know by sharing this article using the buttons below!