Our homes are late to the tech revolution
Technology-based change keeps coming at us at the speed of the closest WiFi router, but not that much has changed around our homes.
Well, technology has changed life in the family room. We have hi-def television with streaming movies. Interactive video games like the Wii. And Skype gives me free face-to-face communication around the world through my laptop. Yes, the tech revolution has made its way to my couch....and pretty much stopped there.
But very little about the home itself has changed. Many things--furnaces, appliances, shower heads and toilets come to mind--have been tweaked to consume less energy or water. But there's not much that's really new. Oh, yes. My Crock Pot now switches automatically to a warming setting once the food is cooked. That's an advance.
Other advances -- like the front-loading washing machine-- feel like retreads. My mother had one back in the 1960s. No doubt today's are more efficient, but they're hardly an advance similar to the Wii vs. pinball machine.
Most of us heat water the same way, storing it in big tanks, because the alternatives are so pricey. We get heat in basically the same way, burning a fossil fuel and using electricity to blow it through ducts (or we circulate hot water through pipes.)
When will solar panels, heat pumps--or newer technologies that I can't imagine -- become compelling enough to induce homeowners to dump their old systems for new ones, the same way we abandoned vinyl for compact discs for MP3 files?
Weekend reading: If you -- or someone close to you -- got engaged over the holidays, you'll find Dina ElBoghdady's story about weddings at home fascinating. They're not always a money-saver. And columnist Katherine Salant has found some chic new countertop materials that might offer an alternative to the ubiquitous granite.
Chat day: Please tune in at 1 p.m. Friday for the first Real Estate Live chat of the new year.
The Weekend Poll: Advances most likely to hit home
January 8, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories: Home features , New construction , Poll , Remodeling and repair , Weekend Poll
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