It may not have the curb appeal of a nice front entry way, but the garage is the first view of a home that homebuyers will see every day when they get home from work.
A garage with the high tech features found in the rest of the house brings the convenience of smart home technology to the car door.
Thread, Alarm.com and other platforms with mobile apps have geo-fence applications that prepare the house for your arrival by turning on lights or boosting the thermostat as you near home. There are also motion activated lights that turn on when the car pulls into the garage, but there’s so much more to a techy garage than just lighting and that automatic garage door opener that’s been around since the 1980s.
The Garage as a Living Space
Whirlpool is offering a range of garage storage and techie solutions under its Gladiator GarageWorks brand. Armed with diamond plated steel storage lockers, hooks and rails, racks and work benches, the brand has also expanded into electronics.
“We figured we’re in the home with appliances, we might as well come out into the garage, being as it’s an extension of the home—and from there it was built into a complete storage and organization system,” says Becky Ross, brand manager for Gladiator GarageWorks.
Gladiator GarageWorks’ first offering in the world of garage tech was a diamond-plated steel refrigerator called the Chillerator. The Chillerator garage refrigerator has a few features not normally offered in a fridge. First, it features a can caddy that can hold up to nine cans or a bottle of wine, for to keep those brews or sodas cold, secure and easy to grab.
The Chillerator has a double pass heat loop that reduces exterior condensation, even in the extreme temperatures of an unheated garage.
The fridge also adjusts the frequency of defrosts by monitoring the run-time of the compressor and evaporator heater. This results in fewer ice crystals, less freezer burn and energy savings.
To top it off, the Chillerator is Energy Star qualified and has locking casters so it can be moved without a hassle.
The company also offers a trash compactor with the same diamond pattern, and is considering adding a kegerator. A prototype kegerator was immensely popular at the International Builders’ Show in January. There are also plans for magnetic and motion sensitive LED strips, which can be attached to the inside of cabinets, over work benches, or anywhere else they’re needed.
“You can string a couple together if you have a long workbench,” Ross says. “They’re very bright; if you drive in and don’t have a sensor light in your garage, this can do that job.”
Gladiator is also considering adding a steel sink to the package.
The idea, says Ross, is to give the garage a design statement and to be an addition to the homeowner’s lifestyle.
In the Gladiator garage, you could entertain, set up a cocktail station, have poker nights, or watch the game. You could also create a workshop, a gearhead’s haven, or the ultimate man (or woman) cave.
“People do different things in their garage and use it for things versus just parking your car,” says Ross.
Elevating the Ideal Garage
MDU builder EYA has installed elevators in the ground floor garage of its Little Falls Place townhouses in Bethesda, Md. The elevators provide easy access to the units’ three upper floors from the garage and recreation room.
The 2015 New American Home features two connected garages which house three vehicles. The garages feature Gladiator’s storage units and a natural gas pump to fuel vehicles that take that fuel, and an electric vehicle charging station. The garage doors use LiftMaster Elite series door openers equipped with MyQ technology that enables the homeowners to monitor garage activity from their smart devices.
ChargePoint’s Home EV station works with the Nest thermostat and smart devices. It also allows homeowners to schedule charging to minimize energy costs, remotely start and stop charging, and set reminders.
At TecHome Builder LUX, homebuilders brainstormed the ultimate garage, which included separate HVAC for the garage, audio and video capabilities, lighting and security, a car lift for the gearhead, and a car turntable (like the one in Minecraft-creator Markus Persson’s $70 million Hollywood home.
There are also radiant heating options for concrete flooring, and Gladiator offers garage floor tiles in a multitude of colors that are oil-resistant and easy to clean.
The high-tech connected garage can be luxurious or simple, and it offers security for the homeowner, as well as new entertainment options.