Inside the UK’s first smart housing development

March 26, 2018 / Isla MacFarlane
Inside the UK’s first smart housing development

The houses of Sommar Place in Milton Keynes, where the latest smart home technology comes fitted as standard, look remarkably normal. But then that’s the point. These are not fantasy homes for millionaires or homes of the future. These are affordable homes for growing families, and the interconnected technology will soon be expected as standard.

Developed by Swedish housebuilder Trivselhus, in partnership with Places for People, the new community of 39 smart homes combines Scandinavian design and energy efficiency with the latest smart home technology from Apple.

Fully interconnected throughout each home, the idiot-proof technology is completely customisable. Residents can essentially programme their home to cater for their every whim. You can automate your house to put the kettle on in the morning, set the lights to turn on at a certain time and even warm the towel rail as you’re getting up.

Residents can also automate their home when out and about, based on when they will be arriving back and who’s in. Customised scenes, like ‘coming home’, can turn on the lights, set the heating to a desired temperature and play a favourite track as they pull onto the drive.

An iPad and Apple watch come as standard with the house, so residents can command their invisible staff via Siri, along with the HomePod and Apple TV.

For those worried about Big Brother watching, end-to-end encrypted security ensures that your daily habits remain behind closed doors.

Ken Forster, Managing Director of Trivselhus, said, “To date, this level of connected technology integrated into the build of a new property has only been available in multi-million-pound, bespoke smart homes. The technology has otherwise been available to retrofit, but this inevitably results in controls that are fragmented and therefore less seamless to use. It’s our mission at Trivselhus to develop family homes that have a positive impact on how people live.

“Technology is essential in easing people’s lives, so it is important that moving forward family homes are designed with smart home technology at their fore.”

Of course, no house can be called a home of the future without future-proof eco credentials. Trivselhus houses are built to sustain even Sweden’s extreme climatic conditions and the secret is known as Climate Shield: a superior level of mineral wool insulation and air tightness built into the closed panel timber frame walls during construction in Sweden.

This ‘fabric first’ manufacturing means the houses are very energy efficient and will last for the lifetime of the building. Impressively, they can be assembled in as little as a day.

No technology is perfect, and all controls can be operated manually. The resident cyber servants of these elegant family homes leave little trace of their existence. Consequently, the Apple technology performs like a good butler: unintrusive, efficient and, after a day, you’d probably wonder what you’d do without it.

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