As reflected by events such as the International Builders’ Show (IBS) and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), the world of home design continues to evolve, and many of the changes are being driven by technology.

That is technology in homes as well as its use in the design process. Owning a smart home is a primary desire of millennials, and designers feel the pressure to stay informed, and thus relevant in the profession.

Smart home technology shows up in various ways and transforms how people live in their private spaces. From dedicated apps that control lighting and security with a single touch, to voice-activated services that manage multiple aspects of the home environment, home behaviors look very little like they did even two short decades ago.

The need for TV antennas and grocery lists have been obliterated by applications that learn people’s viewing preferences and allow them to watch what they want at their convenience. Now, there are applications that can recognize when a refrigerator has run out of milk and have a gallon ordered and delivered before people even open the refrigerator door.

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The resulting ramifications for builders and designers are huge. Space must be allotted for smart light switches, thermostats, and other devices, for example. Specialized electrical contractors must be hired. Dedicated lines and outlets are needed for communication cables and for installing security cameras, audio systems, automated curtains, and much more.

Moreover, a highly effective and secure internet connection is critical to the interconnectivity of all the moving pieces. The current trend toward integrated appliances also means that countertop and other surface design ideas must shift to accommodate. The new reality is that these revolutionary changes have the potential to dominate a blueprint completely. Advertisement

Perhaps most cogent is the evolution to renewable energy, which impacts countless aspects of home design as well as home living. A new consciousness has been born, and with the growing body of knowledge of our earth’s degree of damage, a commitment to treating our planet with kindness is afoot.

Meeting these needs requires an emphasis on eco-friendly materials and green technologies such as solar panels and recyclables. Professionals in the building and design industry must meet these challenges if they hope to maintain any level of success. And clearly, society must prepare for even more innovation in home design in the decades ahead.