Control & Automation

Popularity of Smart Thermostats, Lighting Control on Rise Among Architects

American Institute of Architects study shows smart thermostats are the most popular product, while demand for mechanical rooms for racks wilts away.

Popularity of Smart Thermostats, Lighting Control on Rise Among Architects

Photos & Slideshow

Jason Knott · October 9, 2017

Home technology is becoming so popular that even Marcia Brady from The Brady Bunch would be jealous these days. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Study, home technology is absolutely on fire in terms of its popularity among architects, and smart thermostats and lighting controls are leading the pack.

The data reveals:

  • Energy management is the “most popular home automation and wireless controls” feature that architects are specifying these days. The study shows that 66 percent report the popularity of energy management systems has increased in 2017 compared to 2017.

  • Home automation is also growing in popularity, with 48 percent saying there is increased demand for control systems, up from 43 percent in 2016.

  • Lighting controls had the highest leap of any technology in 2017 with 39 percent of architects saying the technology is growing in popularity, up from just 26 percent last year.

  • 2017 is the first year the AIA asked about wireless audio systems, and it is a good thing they did. More than half (52 percent) of architects say it is a popular amenity these days.
Smart themostats are the most popular product being requested according to architects. For more data from the AIA Study, check out the slideshow

Bye Bye to Equipment Rooms

The AIA study also asked architects to rate which individual products are the most popular home amenities. Smart thermostats was the No. 1 overall most popular technology, ahead of any other amenity… technology or otherwise.

64 percent of architects said smart thermostats are the most popular home amenity in 2017. Other items making the list include synthetic materials, tankless water heaters, and interior motion sensor lights, among others.

Outdoor living is another strong category, with 70 percent of architects citing demand for outdoor living spaces, which often include technology.

Interestingly, the room space that has the biggest decrease in demand is the “home automation management mechanical room.” In 2016, 24 percent of architects reported demand for that space, but only 11 percent in 2017. This trends mirrors what integrators are seeing in terms of the elimination of the need for large equipment racks.

The study also shows that the average architect has a 4.8 month backlog right now, which is up from a 2.7-month backlog back in 2010. Finally, remodeling/additions is the hottest construction sector for architects, ahead of kitchen remodels, first-time homes, move-up homes and luxury condos.

Energy management is the most popular technology system being requested to residential architects. To see more data, check out the slideshow


  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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  Article Topics


Control & Automation · Automation · Networking & Cables · AV Racks · Audio/Video · Distributed Audio · Outdoor AV · Business · Research · News · HVAC · Thermostat · All Topics
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