As we approach the beginning of a new year, trade shows, consumer reports and specialty retailers are anxious to turn our attention to the latest trends, gadgets, and household goods. Not surprisingly, many offer technological advances that can enable homeowners to embrace infrastructure improvements.

Here are a few:


• LED lightbulbs: One automatically turns on when you enter the room, and turns off when you leave, while another can deliver music to any room via a wireless Bluetooth connection!


• Smoke detector: One of the latest versions will turn on a light whenever you enter the room.


• Wall-hung household battery: A rechargeable residential battery that stores power during low-rate periods (or from solar panels), then lets you tap into its energy when rates are higher (or when the sun’s not shining). It’s also a terrific back-up during blackouts.


• Smart outdoor sprinkler: Hook up your hose to this wireless unit, then use your smartphone to tell it what plants you have, and where they are. It will give each species (including grass) the right amount of water, so there’s much less waste.


• Smart toilet: This unit will adjust flush power, monitor overflow risk, and detect leaking – and it’s touch-free!


Home and Design Show is coming up in Vancouver, October 22-25 at the Vancouver Convention Center West.

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