What does your dream home look like? It is a log cabin in the mountains? A sleek design on an ocean cliffside? Whatever the overall look, if you're hoping to integrate smart features that will control the entertainment, lighting and heating systems in your home, maximise energy efficiency or simply have that futuristic edge, here's some inspiration from around the globe.
Leading the way in cutting-edge technology for window coverings, LUXAFLEX® has launched PowerView Motorisation, and is partnering with Gizmodo to show Australians how they can experience the smart house of the future, today.
1. The Heliotrope
Nestled among the trees in Freiburg, Germany is the revolutionary energy efficient Heliotrope.
Hailed as the first house in the world to generate more power than it uses (by its German architect, Rolf Disch, at least) the Heliotrope's energy entirely renewable, emissions free and CO2 neutral. It literally rotates to make the most of the sun's light and heat, has a 6.6kw dual-axis solar PV tracking panel, a geothermal heat exchanger, a combined heat and power unit and solar-thermal balcony railings for both heat and hot water.
There's also a grey-water cleansing system and a natural compost system for food waste. The house has won a bunch of innovation and environmental awards, and is slated to be turned into a hotel sometime in the future.
2. Harbour Hide
Image: The Telegraph, UK
Got a spare $6 million? In the United Kingdom's Dorset is the Harbour Hide, a staggered, round beach house filled with high-tech amenities.
Android tablets in every room let you set the desired ambiance, mood, lighting, and temperature for each part of the home. The system also runs the extensive audio-visual entertainment setup, curtains and blinds, and, most impressively, it controls the electronic photochromic glass which can darken or lighten as the sunlight warrants. There is also a hidden, heated swimming pool (with an endless-lap jet stream current feature) with tablet-controlled hatch and temperature.
3. Maximum Security Mansion
Image: Liv Sotherby's Realty
This Evergreen, Colorado log cabin may look like a typical mountain retreat, but it hides many hi-tech secrets.
Popularly known as the "Maximum Security Mansion", this 12,000 sqft home is situated in a 32 acre estate and is equipped with a $6 million surveillance and security system that rivals a top secret base. With four bedrooms and seven bathrooms, the home is protected with thermal imaging and night vision cameras that can be viewed from a smartphone, tablet or laptop anywhere on the planet.
4. Sky Porch
Image: Hamilton Scotts
Fancy overlooking the Singapore skyine right next to your fancy supercar? Okay. At the Hamilton Scott you can.
A a biometrically-controlled glass elevator will deliver and park cars right beside your super fancy living space. Seriously.
5. The Gate's Mansion
Image: Filipe Fortes
When guests at the Gate's home, they're given a pin that interacts with sensors located all over the house. Guests enter their temperature and lighting preferences so that the settings change as they move throughout the home. Speakers hidden behind wallpaper allows music to follow you from room to room.
Called "Xanadu 2.0" the home is also built into its surroundings to regulate temperature more efficiently, $US80,000 worth of computer screens are situated display their favourite paintings or photographs, which are stored on storage devices worth $US150,000.
Oh, and the 60-foot pool has its own underwater music system.
6. The Ecocapsule
If you're looking for a home that's a little more portable (and affordable) than the previous options, the Ecocapsule is an interesting addition to your wishlist.
In essence, it's a compact mobile home designed for extended off-grid living for up to a year for one to two people. Its shape is designed for collecting rainwater and minimising thermal losses, and it is capable of generating 1.35 kW of power, and storing a further 10 kW via battery. It can also connect to the grid, if needed.
The Ecocapsule has up to 4g data connection, full smart home features and sensors, is tablet app controlled, and currently cost $122,000. Oh, plus the $3,000 to ship it to Australia.
7. The House With The Hydraulic Roof
Image: Supplied This home in Tuscany features a unique feature that keeps it cool in Summer and warm in Winter. You can literally lift the roof on and off.
And forget a home planetarium, the roof opening like a butterfly (30 degrees on each side) also gives an incredible view of the stars.
8. The Yazgan "Light" House
More an art installation than a home, this house in in Ankara, Turkey, highlights what can be done with smart lighting systems. Its vibrant colour scheme it fully customisable, to go from lively and essentially bright orange, to "calm and professional".
Even the internal glass staircase is fitted with strips that can change to any colour, and everything is app controlled.
9. The Zero House
The Zero House is a small, prefabricated house that can easily be shipped and quickly erected in eco-sensitive areas. Architects say the photovoltaic panels and solar hot water panels are rated for indefinite use and do not lose efficiency with continuous exposure.
It can be left uninhabited for extended periods of time, going into a self-regulating "hibernate" mode which conserves power. It can also withstand winds of up to 140km/h.
10. The Tube With A Tree Inside
Okay so this one hasn't been built -- yet. Designed in 2013 by Kazakh architect Aibek Almassov, this home lets you grown a full tree inside your home.
Funding to continue the project has been recently secured by a Russian solar panel manufacturer, so expect to see this become a reality on the near future.