Across the board, installed technologies play a key role in new construction, but some technologies—like lighting controls—are playing an even more important role than others these days.
According to the 13th Annual State of Builder Technology Market Study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), eight in 10 builders report they offer structured wiring (84 percent), home theater (80 percent) and monitored security (80 percent) in their new homes offerings.
But the biggest growth categories in 2014 compared to the previous year among builders are led by automated lighting controls (up 50 percent in 2014 vs. 2013), stand-alone video surveillance (up 60 percent) and energy management systems (up 25 percent). Other categories showing growth in 2014 were central vacuum, intercoms and structured wiring.
Still, lighting control from manufacturers like Lutron is under-penetrated in new homes compared to other technologies. (See chart below.)
The study also reveals that the number of builders offering monitored security, MRAV and home automation/management systems were all consistent with the number of builders offering the products in 2013, further suggesting the importance of home technologies in new construction, says CEA.
“As the housing market continues to expand, awareness of installed technologies as a category and as a profit generator is growing. In 2014, we find more builders recognize that key installed technologies have the potential to boost profits, especially structured wiring, monitored security, home theater and central vacuum.
“In fact, we see an increase in the number of builders who report that installing home technologies helps boost their profit potential including structured wiring (up 13 percentage points to 25 percent), home theater pre-wire/system (up eight percentage points to 35 percent) and monitored security (up seven percentage points to 26 percent). Townhome builders are more likely to say installing home technologies boosts their profit potential than other home builder types.”
Architects Dig Lighting Control
Meanwhile, lighting control is a favorite technology among architects and homeowners (See chart below.) Indeed, lighting control is tied as the No. 1 technology in terms of being specified by homeowners and architects to builders. In all, 53 percent of the time a lighting control system is installed because the homeowner or architect requested it. Multi-room audio was tied with lighting control. Home theater (up eight percentage points to 47 percent) and monitored security (up eight percentage points to 47 percent) are also hot categories being requested.
Structured wiring remains the most common technology installed (49 percent of new homes), followed by monitored security (28 percent) and home theater (18 percent). Home theater is defined as a professionally installed display, surround sound component, and independent speakers.
According to the research, which is done with 774 builders nationwide, luxury and custom homebuilders are more likely to install all home technologies compared to starter-home builders. In addition, townhome and multi-family builders are more likely to install structured wiring than other builders. In addition, there are some notable differences between custom and national builders. Custom and regional builders are more likely to install structured wiring, multi-room audio video systems and home theater pre-wire/systems, suggesting these technologies are more likely to be customizable and use local, specialty equipment providers.