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Homes of the future; beautiful, efficient and green

We played host to three Irish experts at our Homes of the Future event to find out what is coming down the tracks in 2017 and beyond when it comes to our homes.


Beautiful: Interior design ideas 2017

Interior design in 2017 continues the move away from neutrals towards bold colours and texture. Top Irish Interior designer Neville Knott shared a huge range of tips and trends for 2017:

Two key colours: Bottle Green and Petrol Blue, the brave paint an entire room, the rest of us use them as accent colours!

Trends: eclectic furniture and ornamentation, so don’t be afraid to show off your family heirlooms this year!

Top Tip: match curtains to the walls so a room can be freshened up affordably by changing:
  • Cushions
  • Throws
  • Lightshade’s
Neville’s prediction for our home of the future? Technology will become more and more subtly integrated into our homes. Near field communication will be used to charge devices and technology will become less intrusive.

Efficient: easy tips for energy efficiency

Increasingly connected homes won’t just make them more beautiful spaces, they will help us better monitor and reduce our energy use. The Internet of Things will make it much easier for us to control home energy and security no matter where we are in the world. Using our mobile phone we will be able to:
  • Turn on/off heat in our home
  • Turn on/off hot water in our home
  • View our home through CCTV
  • Lock doors
  • See who is calling to our door
  • Grant access to third parties with smart locks
Justin McInerney from Smartzone said the technology exists and has already been installed in thousands of homes across the US and Europe. It is available in Ireland but it is still the exception rather than the norm.
In the meantime Rory Clarke from House2Home offered some easy ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency that won’t cost a cent:
  • Turning down your thermostat
  • Monitoring hot water use carefully and only heating what you need
  • Switching off lights when you leave a room
And others that cost some money:
  • Heavy curtains on windows: windows are one of the areas of your home that loses most heat; heavy curtains will help stop this.
  • Attic insulation: this is the cheapest way to warm up your home. Heat rises, so by improving the insulation in your attic more of it will stay in your home.

Green: grow your own vegetables

The room was bedecked in greenery supplied by Grow It Yourself (GIY), bringing a splash of vivid spring colour indoors.


As vivid as GIY community manager Karen O’Donohoe is enthusiastic about growing your own vegetables. Through growing our own food we develop ‘food empathy’, which is a stronger connection to food. Not only the food we grow but also the food we buy.

Karen’s top tips when it comes to growing your own vegetables?
Space: you don’t need a garden to grow your own food. Instead of “seeing what you don’t have, flip the switch and see the space you do, balcony, windowsill or hanging basket”. A really easy thing to grow in indoors or in a small space is chilli peppers and they are delish warming soups, stews and curries.

Time: you can grow a lot in 15 minutes a days a week tending to an indoor herb garden.

Knowledge: Karen reckons she couldn’t grow her own nails before she became involved with GIY but now grows some of her own food with her children. If Karen can do it, you can too! Grow things you love to eat, Karen’s favourite? The good old Irish spud (grow them in a deep pot if space is an issue!).

If you want to play your part in the solution, switch to Energia, Ireland’s largest provider of clean, renewable energy.
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