KB Home is building a home of the future, taking builders, homeowners and the industry as a whole on a journey, but it didn’t do it alone.
“Any collaboration starts with an idea—an idea of how would we, together, demonstrate the beauty, the technology and what a 2020 to 2050 house would look like,” says Dan Bridleman, senior vice president of KB Home sustainability, technology and strategic sourcing.
This concept of collaboration led to the creation of the KB Home ProjeKt, which made its debut to the public on the show floor of the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, in Los Angeles.
Bridleman states that the primary goal was to design a home that demonstrates what could be included in the next three decades of housing, and KB Home achieved this through a large collaboration with industry partners and thinkers.
“The ideas of many coming together into one, that’s what demonstrates the true beauty of what is in this house,” says Bridleman. “Also, it’s a house. It’s a nest. It’s beautiful. It doesn’t look like a piece of technology. It looks like a home you can live in.”
Four Key Principles of the KB Home ProjeKt
Collaboration was a crucial component on the ProjeKt. But when it comes to the home itself, there are four integral principles that KB Home pursued in constructing the optimum abode.
“First and foremost, it’s a home. It’s a sanctuary,” says Jacob Atalla, VP of sustainability initiatives for KB Home. “It needs to be comfortable. It needs to be a place where you come to relax and rejuvenate.”
1. Embracing the Home
Embracing the home as a whole is the first major principle of KB Home’s ProjeKt—ensuring that it creates a living environment that’s smart, aware and comfortable.
Collaboration plays a major role in this. Companies like Lutron, Savant and Generation Brands came together with KB Home to help craft a system that is seamless in both technology and sustainability.
The second principle is flexibility. “We want a home that lives with the homeowner and changes with their lifestyle and life stages,” says Atalla.
Flexibility also applies to the home itself, where features such as a moveable wall allow homeowners to adjust space to their own personal preferences.
Stemming off of flexibility comes the third principle—modularity. Atalla notes that while KB Home has much respect for the pre-fab concept, it often involves shipping a “ton of air on a flatbed truck.” The homebuilder aims to redesign the ideas of pre-fabrication with a unique component called “cartridges.”
“Rather than doing a whole room with a lot of air, we are looking at the components of the house that are complex and have a lot of value to them. So, a kitchen wall complete with appliances, cabinets, sinks, countertops, lighting, sensors—that can all be included in one cartridge that’s manufactured in a factory,” says Atalla.
These cartridges are manufactured to extremely high degrees of efficiency, as well as true dimensions. This means that builders can save time and error by eliminating the need for field measurements.
“The cartridges will be pre-wired, pre-plumbed, have all the embedded sensors in them and allow for plug-and-play in the site,” says Atalla.
4. Health and Wellness
For the final, and perhaps most important, principle of the KB Home ProjeKt, the company looked at both the traditional methods of bringing health and wellness to the home, as well as exploring new frontiers.
“Health and wellness are the new best friends of sustainability,” says Atalla.
Some examples of these innovative methods include a strong focus on circadian rhythm lighting. In the master bedroom, technology from Lutron, Savant, Generation Brands, Sonos and more combine to create a seamless system designed to embrace healthy sleeping habits.
“Often, in our busy lives, we get interrupted by our brains receiving wrong signals for when we need to sleep, wake up and so on. These technologies combine to solve this issue,” says Atalla.
There is also a unique concept within the home called “biophilic design,” which is the process of bringing nature into the home. KB Home approached this by first installing tree bark into the walls of the living room and bedroom. Atalla cites scientific data that says when people see nature, whether indoors or out, they feel more comfortable and well.
The ProjeKt also brings nature in by including a grow wall in the kitchen. Atalla jokes that this addition not only embraces nature but also the local food movement.
“How much more local can you get than having your salad right there on the wall?” he says.