One of the main draws at the Home Technology Event was the Hub Theatre, which offered a varied programme of seminars. IE Residential introduced sessions aimed primarily at property developers, while sister publication Technology For Architects presented a morning of seminars for architects. Here is a selection of choice quotes from some of these sessions.
One of the things we often come across on refurbishments is that people don’t realise how much space is required for some of the stuff that were going to put in – services, cable routes, ducting, ventilation, all those things which on a new build that are very much easier. On a new build, [the architect] will be thinking of those things at the time the plans are drawn up. You often don’t get that luxury on a refurbishment and we have to battle for space. David Graham, Graham’s Hi-Fi – Integrating Technology Into Modern Homes There’s also the expectation. Often when people buy an existing house, they want to extend and renovate. They have this expectation that we can do all that in quite a simple way – very cheaply and very quickly. Actually what they’ve bought is a house that we need to take back to the bare brickwork to get all the technology and all the spaces working where they’d like them to be. So there’s often a mismatch between expectation and money and reality. Gregory Phillips, Gregory Phillips Architects – Integrating Technology Into Modern Homes We all confuse information with data and with knowledge. Information has never been so cheap, so reliable and yet so bewildering. I would argue that the technology has marched on considerably and has taken us all by surprise. Information is looking over its shoulder and is saying, ‘Look, I’m here, I’m capable, I’m affordable, what do you want to do?’ And this applies in all walks of life – in the commercial world, in offices, schools and airports, and not least in the home as well. The technology is there, but I would suggest that we’re struggling to know exactly what to do with it. Jim Read, Arup – Are We Ready For Truly Integrated Technology in the Home? One of the questions I get asked most often by builders and developers is, ‘How responsive and smart does a building have to be?’ That’s kind of code for ‘What’s the minimum I can put into a building, and get away with, that people will find attractive?’ It’s an attitude a lot of builders and developers have. It’s a nervousness; they’re in areas where they’re dealing with technology that don’t understand. We that are involved in designing and promoting technology should understand that, and get better at explaining to builders and developers that’s there’s a great benefit to technology. Jim Read, Arup – Are We Ready For Truly Integrated Technology in the Home? When a new policy, standard or regulation is introduced, it takes a long time before it starts to impact on the industry. So a regulation introduced in 2010 won’t get to be mass scale until about 2016; so we’re not expecting to see zero-carbon homes actually developed to the full scale until about 2020. So there’s quite a long lag from today before they become the norm. Rob Pannell, Zero Carbon Hub – Technology and the Zero Carbon Home Interestingly the [UK] Government has changed its policy in the Budget this year. Zero carbon used to mean zero carbon, but it now means something different. It used to include regulated and unregulated energy; regulated energy means pumps, fans, space heating, water heating and lighting; unregulated is basically anything you plug in, like gizmos or hair dryers. Today, we have a new position of measuring regulated energy only as part of the zero carbon policy. That’s a massive change in terms of what’s expected from a new home. Rob Pannell, Zero Carbon Hub – Technology and the Zero Carbon Home