With codes and market forces continuing to raise the bar for home performance, forward-thinking builders and developers are looking beyond the individual home. Some see the next big thing in sustainable building as the "smart neighborhood."
The smart neighborhoods I've looked at all include community-scale energy generation and energy management, while some go further by prioritizing clean air and clean water. The trend is relatively new, however, and developers are still figuring out what works in a business sense. Challenges include how to keep costs down, how to work with the electric utility, and how to determine what features buyers will value.
It Starts with the Home
The core of the smart neighborhood is the smart home. It combines healthy, energy-efficient construction with electronic features like rooftop solar panels, backup batteries, connected appliances and home automation.
Most people think of home automation as a control system for lights, shades, music,... read more