Smart and Healthy Features Abound in KB Home ProjeKt: Part 1 | Digitized House
Smart and Healthy Features Abound in KB Home ProjeKt: Part 1

Smart and Healthy Features Abound in KB Home ProjeKt: Part 1

First revealed at CES 2019 in January and carrying over into the 2019 NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in February, the KB Home ProjeKt near Las Vegas strives to deliver on connected home and holistic design features aligned to deliver on the long-term health and wellness of its occupants. This concept home project was constructed by Los Angles-based builder KB Home and designed by the architectural firm KTGY Architecture + Planning of Irvine, California.

Certainly, what makes this home stand apart from the typical concept home is its unabashed laser focus on healthy features, rather than design purely for the sake of design. Quoting the fact sheet from BUILDER Online and KB Home released just prior to CES: “The home isn’t simply a regular home with technology bolted on. This home was designed and built, from the ground up, to better the health of its residents.” 

The main living area of the KB Home ProjeKt. Image: KB Home.
The main living area of the KB Home ProjeKt. Image: KB Home.

That’s a tall order, but something the partners and title sponsors—including the aforementioned KB Home and KTGY Architecture + Planning as well as Hanley Wood, AndersonBaron, Whirlpool, and Delos—have all committed to delivering on. Furthermore, KB Home and KTGY Architecture + Planning see this home not merely as a concept, but a structure that is feasible to be built at scale.

Let’s take a look at some of the smart and healthy features integrated into this 3,200-square-foot project, which is situated in the Inspirada community in Henderson, Nevada—located about 20 miles south of the Las Vegas Convention Center where IBS 2019 will be held.

Connected Home Ecosystem

Rather than mixing and matching accessories from the popular connected home ecosystems and voice assistants from Amazon, Apple, Google, and others, KB Home wisely decided to focus on a single ecosystem. As an extension of the current KB Smart Home System already offered to home buyers in many of the company’s service areas, the Google Home ecosystem reigns in this home. Accessories and features can be activated by the Google Assistant running on Google Home and Google Home Mini smart speakers throughout.

The Google Home connected home ecosystem and Google Assistant voice activation form a smart foundation for the KB Home ProjeKt. Image: Google.
The Google Home connected home ecosystem and Google Assistant voice activation form a smart foundation for the KB Home ProjeKt. Image: Google.

Given the two-story design and size of the home, a mesh network using several Google Wi-Fi routers ensures that optimum bandwidth is delivered to smart accessories and various computing devices. Another selection from Alphabet sister company Nest Labs—the Nest Video Doorbell—was installed to watch over the front entry door and works seamlessly with the Google Home system.

Other smart components in the KB Home ProjeKt were then selected to work within the expanding Google Home ecosystem, simplifying day-to-day living by working with a single voice activation assistant and app.

Furthermore, recent upgrades to the Google Home app on smartphones and tablets give future residents easy control over accessories through simple taps in a scrollable, room-by-room view.

Smart and Healthy HVAC Control

At the forefront of the design goals for a healthy home environment is the delivery of a constant supply of refreshed, cleansed air. Toward that end, the designers sought the assistance from Delos, the developer of the DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence platform. A multi-functional system, DARWIN not only manages air filtration in the home, but also addresses water purification, provides dynamic circadian lighting control, and integration with other technologies related to homeowner comfort and convenience.

Toshiba Carrier Côr Wi-Fi Thermostats in each HVAC zone enable fine-tuning temperatures. Image: KB Home.

Behind the scenes of DARWIN, an energy-efficient Toshiba Carrier VRF Heat Pump system facilitates zoned heating and cooling, while Carrier Côr Wi-Fi Thermostats enable easy touch temperature control override in each zone as desired. An Air King QuFRESH mechanical ventilation system and distributed sensors detects changes in air quality and makes adjustments on the fly to keep air fresh. This in-depth linkage with DARWIN also extends to integration with the Whirlpool oven and microwave in the kitchen and smart Hunter Douglas window shades throughout the home.

The DARWIN system integrates well with the Google Home ecosystem, and also features a wall-mounted dashboard for at-a-glance environmental health checks. 

Smart Window Coverings

Generous daylighting is a key to a healthy home environment, and toward that goal this home has plenty of Ply Gem ProSeries Collection windows. In order to precisely control light coming into the interior space, smart window shades from Hunter Douglas were installed in each room, each fitted with the company’s PowerView Motorization technology.

Hunter Douglas Duette LightLock shades with PowerView Motorization are used in the master bedroom for total light control. Image: Hunter Douglas.
Hunter Douglas Duette LightLock shades with PowerView Motorization are used in the master bedroom for total light control. Image: Hunter Douglas.

To tailor window covering needs specifically to each room, various designs and configurations of Hunter Douglas products with the onboard smart motorization features were specified. For example, in the master bedroom—where there was a desire to completely block the passage of ambient exterior light during sleep—Hunter Douglas Duette LightLock shades were installed. When closed, these innovative shades provide 100% total darkness due to U-shaped side channels with vertical black ridges that absorb all incoming light. Then, in the adjacent master bath—where varying degrees of light filtration control was desired—Hunter Douglas Duette Honeycomb Shades were deployed.

For the large expanse of windows in the great room, Hunter Douglas Silhouette Window Shadings were installed to deliver precise lighting modulation, and the same shadings were used in the powder room; for the office, Silhouette Duolite shades were used; and for the kitchen and all rooms upstairs, Pirouette Window Shadings were installed.

The Hunter Douglas PowerView system integrates seamlessly with Google Assistant for on-demand voice control, as well as with the home’s DARWIN system for opening and closing the shades for energy saving, light control, and optimum sleeping conditions. For additional flexibility, future homeowners can also elect to use the Hunter Douglas PowerView app for controlling individual shades, creating scenes, and scheduling automations.

Tour the Home at IBS 2019

If you are planning on attending IBS 2019, you will get a chance to tour the home February 19-21. Visit the BUILDER booth (C4115) for more info as well as virtual tours of the home.

More to Come

In Part 2 of this series on the KB Home ProjeKt, we will take a closer look at more of the connected home, health, water conservation, and energy conservation features of this unique home.

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Tom Kolnowski
Chief Content Officer & Founder
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.

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