Integrating Green Home Technologies Grows Margins
By Lisa G. Matthews, CTS, Total Audio Video Systems
Builder, electronics systems contractors (ESCs), new home owners and the environment all win with integrated green home technologies because a properly designed and integrated home technology system can generate additional profits for builders and ESCs, provide long-term savings for home owners and reduce waste and increase energy conservation for the environment.
Many in the industry see the move to green as an opportunity. Others regard it as a necessary evil.
But the bottom line is that new homes that offer integrated home technologies ― or are at least pre-wired to provide them — are in greater demand than homes that don’t. What’s more, studies have found that home buyers are willing to pay more for them.
Potential home buyers are requesting that their new houses offer the latest in home automation. They understand the value added to their investment ― and the expenses associated with having to add this technology later. CePro, an association of consumer electronics professionals, found that 12% of home technologies that consumers are willing to pay more for are products provided by environmentally friendly manufacturers.
In addition, going beyond just incorporating home automation to offering green home automation gives builders an even greater competitive edge in this challenging marketplace.
Green elements include lighting control, motorized shade and drape control, integrated HVAC and even automated control of fountains and pool pumps.
The recent State of the Builder Technology Market Study by the Consumer Electronics Association in conjunction with NAHB found that “lighting control is now the fastest growing of all home technologies” and said that “home builders appreciate the products’ design and lifestyle appeal to home buyers.”
The study also identified lighting control “as an important differentiator in the marketplace” and that the “energy saving benefits of lighting control are increasingly important.”
Some green points to ponder:
- Dimming lights by just 10% to 20% can significantly reduce the electricity costs in the home or office while reducing carbon dioxide emissions, which contributes to bulb life and ultimately, a reduction in waste. A whole-house lighting control system increases the savings exponentially.
- Light-level sensors enable daylight harvesting for automated lighting and drape control. Shades and drapes can best utilize or restrict sunlight.
- HVAC control can monitor motion sensors and thermostats to make adjustments according to time, occupancy and humidity.
- Home automation systems can be accessed remotely and home owners can control lighting and thermostats through the Internet.
- Integrated systems operate efficiently, replacing multiple products and ultimately consuming less power.
Green features increase a home’s value and marketability and systems that regulate and automate temperatures in the home save energy. In additon, many of these technologies will help builders achieve additional points when they score their home with the NAHB National Green Building Program.
The various features’ efficiencies increase when they are integrated and function as one.
This is what the home owner will soon come to expect. This is the standard that builders and ESCs can create to better meet home buyer expectations ― and get an “edge” in the marketplace that stimulates sales and increases margins.
Builders are not expected to be the integrated home technologies experts. ESCs fill that role. Builders should look to ESCs to provide the most current technology and to keep up with the latest tech trends.
A business alliance with a certified ESC will enable builders to develop strategies and packages that best suit home buyers’ needs and budgets while taking into consideration the impact on the market value of the home and future needs.
ESCs can help builders provide comprehensive structured wiring packages for uncomplicated distributed audio, video and home theater options as well as future technological needs — such as smart appliances and media centers.
ESCs can help builders ensure that these designs incorporate “green” upgrades such as HVAC, lighting and shade control. ESCs also can provide manufacturers' literature and Web links for each of the technologies that have been integrated into the system, while also demonstrating to the client the long-term benefits and cost savings of going green.
Home owners will get the technology they expect while builders and ESCs will boost their profit margins and get customer referrals.
Lisa Matthews, CTS, is vice president of marketing and a residential systems designer at Total Audio Video Systems, Inc. (TAVS), based in Sunrise, Fla. The company provides packaged audio-visual solutions to home builders in the south and central Florida markets. She is an InfoComm International Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) and a member of the Custom Electronic Design Installation Association. For more information, e-mail Matthews, or visit the TAVS Web site at www.TAVSinc.com.
CEDIA: A Source for Experienced ESCs
The Custom Electronic Design Installation Association (CEDIA) is a founding sponsor in the Home Technology Alliance and an international trade association of companies that specialize in designing and installing electronic systems for the home.
CEDIA members are established and insured businesses with bona fide qualifications and experience in this field. CEDIA serves as a source for Electronic Systems Contractors (ESCs).
For more information on CEDIA, visit the association’s Web site at www.cedia.org. To find an ESC, click here.