Can your home physically do you good?
July 08, 2015
With product innovation going as far as beeswax-laminated aspen wood flooring that absorbs air moisture and helps to stabilise temperature in your home, we ask the question: can your home physically do you good?
According to our Home of the Future research, less than one in ten people consider the home to merely be a functional space for eating and sleeping. Our homes are our sanctuaries in that they provide us with a base from which we can maintain our mental and physical health.
And now we can see that the home’s contribution to our wellbeing is only going to become more influential as time goes on. It’s not just new technologies that will enable our homes to play a vital part in our health, but new learnings and ideas about holistic living and the quantifiable self.
How these ideals will be incorporated into our homes in the future is up for speculation, but we can already see elements of them creeping into the infrastructure of the typical UK house.
The bricks and mortar of it
Although in this day and age we’re largely preoccupied with technology and electronics, when considering the wellbeing factors of a home it helps to start with the very stuff it’s made of.
Builders are now seeking to use more sympathetic materials to boost wellbeing. For example by reducing the use of high VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) level paint, which can cause headaches, and can exacerbate respiratory conditions.
In this sense, the way in which homes of the future will do us good is through the reduced utilisation of harmful materials. However, it goes both ways, with new materials that actively and positively contribute to our health being put to use too. For example, the ZEB house uses beeswax laminated aspen wood flooring, which absorbs air moisture and helps to stabilise temperature.
Technology: A contradiction in terms
Whilst tech has facilitated immeasurable progress for the human race in its quest for knowledge, convenience and health, it’s also been cited as the cause for things such as insomnia, stress and even breakdowns in communication.
This oxymoronic nature of technology is reflected in the development of our homes. Whilst they’re more filled with tech than ever, people are creating tech-free rooms to re-instil a sense of natural living, and to dispel the detriments to health associated with technology.
Smart-tech doesn’t detract, it enhances
The intrusive nature of iPads and televisions aside, we’re seeing a rise in tech that monitors the home and, in turn, improves its (and our) health. Robert Whiteside, Chief Commercial Officer of EVRYTHNG, speculates that the “use of sensory devices that monitor home health based on air quality, temperature consistency and interior noise levels would enable home builders and even rental companies to differentiate their product in the market in new ways.”
This kind of tech is already starting to aid people, especially when it comes to retaining independence in the home. The elderly, for example, although on a small scale, are already experiencing the invisible helping hand of Ambient Assisted Living technology, which monitors people and can summon help if problems occur.
The new-age bathroom
Technology not only lives in our homes, but on our wrists, in our pockets and clipped to our belts. The age of the ‘quantifiable self’ refers to the recent interest in monitoring and tracking our own health and fitness, and the ability to stick real, hard numbers on it via the use of wearable tech.
The bathroom is the logical home for this new area of our lives and will undoubtedly grow to facilitate it, becoming a sort of sanctuary. No longer will it be a basic room for washing, but will become a fully-functional health and fitness centre, contributing to our self-improvement and aiding us in our quest for wellbeing.
The future is glass and open space
Much more than just a gateway for sunlight, glass is becoming multifunctional in ways that would have been hard to predict before the invention of computing. It’s already thought that soon glass windows will become screens, and product design guru Chris Lefteri speculates that it will alter light and surfaces, providing new ways of transmitting light that can be ‘integrated much more cleverly in the home.’
This new-fangled approach to utilising glass is bound to facilitate spaces that feel more open, and ones that offer convenience like we’ve never seen before. Imagine a room that was once cluttered and small. Now it is bright, minimalist and open due to the clever use of glass, which incidentally can be swiped with a finger to bring up the news, or the day’s forecast, or even to set your coffee machine going.
This uncluttered haven of convenience, of open space and natural light is bound to lead to less stress, increased happiness and, in turn, better physical health.
The home is becoming sophisticated in ways that reflect both our dedication to improving our quality of life and our ever-growing concern surrounding good health and how to get it.
We’re now looking to a future in which the typical UK house not only helps the environment, but is a legitimate tool in aiding our own personal quest for wellbeing. From technology to interior design, to the bare bones of a property, these changes only go to show that our investment in the home is greater than it ever has been before.
To find out how you can protect your home for the future with Buildings and Contents Insurance from Hiscox.