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Courtesy of Colin McBride, Union-Tribune San Diego

I remember shopping for a home several years ago. Some of the listings we were shown had been built in the late-1990s, which was part of the appeal.

A newer neighborhood meant fewer trips to the hardware store, but it also meant I could expect something called Cat-5 wiring.

Structured wiring for home automation was an emerging topic for the building industry in the ’90s. Meanwhile, buyers at the dawn of the information age were beginning to demand that homes be built to satisfy their increasing thirst for technology.

We were years from the ‘smart home’ technologies that many builders are including in their designs these days.

In the North County, one new community in particular stands out for its inclusion of technology in home design.

“We view all buyers as ‘tech savvy,’” said Graeme Gabriel, president and COO of ColRich, a San Diego-based home builder. “Our goal is to design homes that are functionally and aesthetically sound. This was the motivation behind the Control4 system we included in our homes at Solaire.”

Each townhome in ColRich’s San Marcos community of Solaire comes equipped with a cutting-edge home automation system and buyers seem to be responding.

“We’ve sold 68 homes in 10 months ... selling out within a week or two of each sales release,” said Kelly Hiltscher, ColRich director of sales and marketing, about the success of Solaire.

While it’s not the only amenity at Solaire, Control4 is an impressive offer for any home shopper. The system effortlessly syncs up each home’s electronics at the touch of a button. Homeowners control entry, security, climate, lights, multi-media entertainment systems and energy reduction via mobile control. There’s even a function that secures the home.

“It is an easy to use system that truly enhances home,” said Gabriel. There is another kind of connection to be made with the use high-tech designs — sustainability. Home automation systems can help homeowner control energy efficiency and monitor usage.

As technology seems to evolve rapidly, how does a home builder like Colrich plan ahead for relevant in-home technologies?

“We stay on top of design trends with our trade partners and are continually looking for the latest innovations through all design elements of the home,” Gabriel said. “Tech savvy homes are not just about gadgets, it’s equally about floor plans, building materials and everything else that goes into the design and development of a home.”


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