The BC Home + Garden Show at BC Place Stadium on February 17-22 drew thousands of visitors, many of whom were there to be inspired and learn about the newest spring trends in home décor and gardens, from renovation experts such as Bryan Baeumler to Carson Arthur, star of HGTV’s brand-new series Home to Win, and Jef Hancock. However, many attendees also came to discover the latest and greatest in smart home technology.
Not too long ago, the mere idea of opening our blinds or turning off the heat while thousands of kilometres from home was sheer science fiction. Well, today we know that not only is it possible but that we can do so much more, especially with our smart phones always on hand.
However, it doesn’t stop there. Developers are always on the lookout for new ways to build a smarter and more sustainable residences. Advances in technology mean homes are intelligent and more energy efficient than ever before.
Below and in the photo gallery above are some of the smart-home technology highlights at this year’s BC Home + Garden Show.
The Westcoast Smart Home
A “game-changing” prefabricated bungalow by Trinity Post & Panel Inc.
The pre-fabricated bungalow was built on-site at BC Place using the Cariboo-based company’s patented integrated post-and-panel construction system, reducing the build time exponentially – the 810-square-foot envelope (exterior shell) went up in 18 hours.
“This is a game changer in the construction industry,” says Gregg Borsos, Trinity account executive, adding its system is hypoallergenic, waterproof and recyclable. “Our IPP system dramatically cuts down building time while maintaining some of the highest energy-efficiency levels in the industry. It cuts the energy consumption of running a home by 40 per cent or more.”
The home was also equipped with Geo Dream, a carbon fiber infrared flooring.
“The infrared heat is generated from carbon fiber strips that are attached to silver contact bus bars connected to copper electrical strips,” he adds. “This is fairly new. It is rolled out in what looks like thin film that is transparent and extremely durable.”
BC Hydro Power in Style Home
A stylish, energy-efficient home with awesome gadgets, designed by Jamie Banfield
“The contemporary design mixes new technology that is not only innovative but really interesting,” says Vancouver-based designer Jamie Banfield. “There are toilets built with LED lights that light up your toilet seat at night. That way you don’t have to turn on the bathroom light and wake up your partner.”
Another cool gadget is Kohler’s Moxie showerhead. This showerhead is a Bluetooth-enabled fixture that programs music while you shower.
“I love this,” he says. “When you have had an extremely stressful day you hop in the shower and the hot water and soothing music can help relax you.” You can also program your music to end with a certain song, which tells you it’s time to get out of the shower, thus conserving water.
In the kitchen, one of Banfield’s favourite new gadgets is the Kohler’s motion activated faucet.
“These faucets have a sensor that responds to the wave of your hand without you ever having to touch it,” he adds.
BC Hydro’s Tracking Devices
Ways to help you save money on your energy bill
Home energy monitors: These provide customers with real-time information about household electricity use – in kilowatts, dollars and cents. When you turn on electric appliances or other devices, you’ll see your electricity use and cost, allowing you to better understand and manage the way you use electricity.
MyHydro account: This free online BC Hydro account allows you to track energy consumption by the hour or the day, helping customers manage electricity use and identify opportunities to save money and energy.
Electricity tracking tools: Like a home energy monitor or a MyHydro account, these tools allow customers to gain a better understanding of how seasonal changes and everyday habits like leaving lights or multiple electronics on affect electricity use.
Programmable thermostats: Space heating alone can account for 40 to 50 per cent of a home’s electricity bill. Programmable thermostats help manage heating costs by reducing wasted heat. For example, setting a programmable thermostat to turn on at times when you’re home and to turn off while you’re at work can save you up to 15 per cent in energy costs.
Advanced power bars: The average Canadian home has more than 25 electronic devices that use standby power. Since the 1970s, the amount of electricity used for home electronics has increased by more than 330 per cent. Standby power costs individual households about $50 a year. Using an advanced power bar will help you manage standby power and automatically turn off multiple devices. Some models of advanced power bars have additional features such as timers and motion sensors to help further reduce your electricity use.