According to a new report, homes of the future will hone into neighbourhood energy systems, use enhanced technology to make automatic decisions about heating, security and postal deliveries and feature flexible layouts
The report, Futurology: the new home in 2050, commissioned by the NHBC Foundation, provides research and guidance to support the housebuilding industry, and looks ahead three decades to foresee radical adjustments to housebuilding design, inspired by new technology, population shifts and climate change.
The report suggests that demographic changes, such as a rapid increase in the number of elderly people and the worsening issue of young people unable to afford to leave home, will motivate demand for multi-generational accommodation. More homes are expected to be designed with flexible layouts to suit different generations, which can be adapted as families’ needs change.
Inspired by the need for more urban housing in already densely populated areas, future design will produce homes with smaller footprints, but with more storeys, using balcony and roof space to provide outdoor space.
By 2050, technology will transform homes into collectors and storers of energy, with electricity, now generated by non-fossil fuel, most likely to be used to heat homes and hot water. Electric cars will be the new norm for every property equipped with a charging point. The future home will manage its energy use from a centralised platform, combining heating, electrical consumption, ventilation and vehicle charging.
Other key futurology predictions in the report include:
- Letterboxes will be replaced by smart delivery boxes which can receive registered deliveries and store valuable parcels
- As climate changes, homes of the future must react, with improved responsive cooling and heating techniques
- Smart homes could monitor health and activity, such as reminding the occupant to take medication or warning of scalding water or an overflowing bath
- Urban homes will access neighbourhood heating and energy networks via a district energy centre which may produce heat from waste or a ground source.
Commenting on the report NHBC’s Head of Standards, Innovation and Research Neil Smith said: “In the next 30 years we will witness substantial changes to home-life through technological advancement in response to societal, demographic and climate changes. Thinking ahead and considering on a regular basis how the homes we build will need to change to accommodate those demands is a good way to ensure that we are not taken by surprise.”
You can download the full futurology report here.