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The Rise of a New Kind of Home

Where I live in the Chicago suburbs, a portion of this summer was hotter than I ever remember. Three days in August saw temps hovering near or above 100—which for our northern region is quite high. Air conditioning units had a hard time keeping up with the heat and many school activities had to be cancelled.

Thankfully, it was just a few days, but what if that heat continues in the years ahead? That is something we, as a society, need to prepare for—and construction companies will be tasked with building structures to beat the extreme heat.

The good news is the technology exists that can make homes more sustainable and energy efficient. Let’s look at one example from Dvele. The company says new homes are self-powered by solar energy, which eliminates the need for fossil fuels. In addition, they have energy-efficient systems, smart home technology, and environmentally friendly materials.

In fact, Dvele claims these homes use 84% less energy per square foot than traditionally built homes and they can generate more energy than they consume, which means they are not just net zero, but they are also net positive producers of energy. In this case, the excess energy can be stored in the home’s batteries for later use or sold back to the electric utility.

The value here is myriad. Homeowners can save money on utility bills. They also have more resilient homes that can withstand power outages and other risks that we face today.

These homes are additionally intelligent. Dvele homes are equipped with advanced smart home technologies, including more than 200 sensors embedded throughout the walls, floors, and ceilings that allow occupants to control and monitor various aspects of their homes remotely. From energy management and security systems to lighting and climate control, sensors proactively monitor the home’s health to catch problems before they arise, giving occupants ample time to prepare for home maintenance.

This is just the beginning too. On June 5, the company broke ground on a new foundry in Butte, Montana, which is part of the company’s partnership with the U.S. Dept. of Energy. The objective here is to produce housing units for the average American, making it 30-40% more affordable than conventional homes. The intent is to also have amenities such as industry training, daycare, and housing for its own employees. Dvele plans to build 10 foundries across America in the years ahead.

While this is simply one example, the bottomline is we need to prepare for what our future holds. We need homes that are more resilient and sustainable. We know affordability is also a top priority. As builders are building next-gen homes, these are factors and trends the construction industry must keep in mind.

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