Plan to Future-Proof Your Home

Claudette Reichel  |  6/25/2008 1:51:42 AM

Figure 1, Mulitcable Wiring

Consider Advanced Wiring

Structured wiring refers to a system that integrates all the communications wiring in your home and treats it as one wiring system, usually with a “home run” layout of cabling from a central control station to each jack or device. This can include broadband wiring for a home computer network, telephone, video, audio, alarms, remote or central control of appliances, lighting and other types of automation. The installed cost may range from approximately $1 per square foot of living area for a basic system to more than $10/sq. ft. for a lavish system.

Home systems often use a Category 5 (or better) cable for voice and data and RG6 coaxial cable for video. Fiber optic cable is also available for those who seek especially high capacity. These cables can be bundled in a single multicable.

Structured wiring, upgradeable packages and accessible installations can make a home adaptable to advances in telecommunications and automation without major renovation. Special baseboard and crown moldings designed to route cabling behind it are available.

Energy management, diagnostic, hazard warning, security systems, automatic or remote control lighting and assistive technologies can be integrated for central control. A home office equipped with wide bandwidth lines could enable family members to telecommute some or all days of the week, avoiding commutes to the workplace.  (Figure 1, Multicable Wiring)

Design Adaptable Spaces

Adaptable spaces reduce waste and can save time and trouble. A floor plan with enclosed, single-purpose rooms is far less adaptable to changing household needs, sizes and functions than open space plans. Consider multipurpose spaces -- such as bookcases in a slightly widened hallway and a large rectangular bedroom design (instead of two rooms) that can be partitioned for two children to have semiprivate space or kept whole for an aging parent’s room or a recreational room.

Phased design: Consider designing a phased home plan with pre-planned additions or unfinished spaces so you don’t have to scrimp on quality and sustainability to get the size and space you will need later.

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