Concepts like sleep-boosting tech and biophilia may be new to most homebuyers, but to Los Angeles-based KB Home, wellness in the home is treated like a “well” known friend. Having built 11,871 new homes in 2019, the company incorporates products from manufacturers such as Lutron, Google, Carrier and more to provide smart home technologies and wellness solutions.
Dan Bridleman, senior vice president of sustainability, technology and strategic sourcing, KB Home, says that next to the use of non-volatile organic compounds (VOCs), wellness is quickly becoming an increasingly important part of the amenities the company offers homebuyers, with Energy Star certification on all KB Homes underscoring that commitment.
Partnerships That Power Commitments
When it first announced its involvement in the Well Living Lab Alliance, KB Home had been the first homebuilder to join. A collaboration between Delos and the Mayo Clinic, the group is dedicated to transforming indoor environments to benefits human health and wellbeing. Meanwhile the lab itself is a 7,500-square-foot research space into just that subject.
“If you think about it, fresh air and low-to-zero VOC [volatile organic com- pounds] products are things that make the quality of air better, so we felt we had to take it another step further. As a builder we have partnered with Delos, and we introduced a platform [of theirs] called DARWIN,” Bridleman says, referring to the Home Wellness Intelligence Network.
“It’s a system that monitors and calibrates the home environment. There are sensors in the room, the light, the air quality, the water quality. It’s in the background adjusting these things for better health. Health comes in a number of ways, the circadian rhythms of your home. We want to make sure you have options in your house.”
Over the next few years, Bridleman expects a major change in the technologies that KB Home installs into its homes. He foresees innovative companies such as Lutron eliminating the cost and complexities of wiring by using Bluetooth and other wireless technologies, for example.
“Through technology you can reduce the cost of wiring, and technology will be the enabler to offering smart solutions. Because you can talk to home systems, you can run circadian rhythms and technologies can integrate the lifestyle you like to have,” Bridleman theorizes.
Delivering Futuristic Control with DARWIN
Since 2019, when KB Home partnered with Delos, the company has been offering the pioneering DARWIN platform to all its customers. Through this proprietary sensor monitoring platform, homeowners can better control a home’s air filtration, water purification, circadian lighting and comfort features.
Most homebuilders build a product they hope people buy, but as Bridleman says, KB Home lets people choose their amenities through KB Home’s Design Studio. Countertops, smart appliances, smart thermostats, and, in California, the DARWIN system, Studio also allows buyers to choose an array of Google products and a selection of home lighting solutions.
“As you pick your smart technologies, we can tell our subcontractors how to install them. Then Dish will come to the house, they will connect everything through a single integration, so you don’t have 500 sign-ins and passwords. Google does it for you and you have access from now until eternity. Simplicity is a key. You get to pick and choose … we will integrate those products and you call Dish and they sit down with the customer. They get it to work and make it easy for the customer.”
Given the rising popularity of smart home products and growing knowledge of the benefits of home wellness, Bridleman predicts such amenities could soon become standard from KB Home.
“Over time things become expected. The fact that we have studios that people tell us what they want — once the rate gets above 50% or 75%, it becomes standard. It becomes base cost and we have a good way to tell once we cross that bridge,” he explains.
Another version of this article previously appeared in CE Pro.