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Home features of the future are the stuff of Hollywood

By Berit Griffin December 6, 2013

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In “Back To The Future Part 2,” viewers were treated to Hollywood’s version of the home of the future. The home of the Future McFlys featured a spacious wall of big-screen TVs, an oven that baked a pizza in seconds and fresh produce grown in the kitchen from a chandelier-like appliance.

Some of those innovations have come to realization (TVs), but the features of tomorrow may just surpass the once unimaginable tech seen in the movie.

USA Today recently reported on eight home tech innovations that could reshape the way we live in and interact with the home. We’ve written plenty about the home automation trend, but there is plenty more to be excited about. For instance:

Living walls.
One of the most dramatic changes at this year’s Solar Decathlon and GreenBuild was the plethora of wall and shelving products for growing plants.

“We’ve seen a great increase in living walls in the residential market,” says Ryan Burrows of New Jersey-based EcoWalls, which debuted a “chef’s wall garden” earlier this year that cultivates herbs and veggies.

Solar canopies.
Rooftop solar is booming nationwide as more companies offer leasing options that allow customers to installs panels atop their home with no upfront costs. Now, solar is moving beyond the roof.

Next year, Princeton-based NRG Energy will begin selling the gazebo-like Solar Canopy, which has solar panels on top. Once assembled, the modular kits could enable homes to go off grid or, by storing energy in batteries within the canopy, provide back-up power in case the grid goes down.

One-gallon flush. 
Toilets that used five gallons of water per flush were once the industry norm, but new ones use 80% less.

Kohler unveiled a product last year that uses 1.28 gallons per flush. Instead of relying on a flapper that only partially opens during a flush, it uses an AquaPiston canister that lifts completely off the valve, allowing water from 360 degrees to swoop in.

Today’s questions is simple, but fun one: What feature that has appeared in a movie would you like to see in the home of the future?