Using Virtual and Augmented Reality to Sell Efficiency Tech

Using Virtual and Augmented Reality to Sell Efficiency Tech


Earth Day has us thinking about the environment and naturally energy efficient home tech options and ways to get them to appeal to clients.

A new type of technology has exploded into the TecHome market that’s offering a way to showcase these “green” options clients can’t usually see with the naked eye. Virtual and augmented reality give customers the ability to tour the home before and after it’s built and view all of its tech possibilities, even those behind the walls.

“For builders looking to install green technology, this is a great way to get the homebuyer engaged and for them to make the leap,” says Avid Ratings’ founder Paul Cardis.

Avid Ratings’ GoTour program is one of the virtual reality choices on the market. Its ability to market and sell green, efficient technology was put to the test at this past year’s Greenbuild Conference. The shows featured show home, The Unity Home, used GoTour.

“The virtual tour options are very neat and it’s something we are considering including moving forward on other design platforms for Unity Homes,” says energy and sustainability specialist at Unity Homes, Rheannon DeMond. 

The homebuyer can cycle between any room in the home to change options.
The homebuyer can cycle between any room in the home to change options.

She says the GoTour was especially helpful at Greenbuild, where attendees could cycle through selections such as lighting, appliances and other energy efficiencies and see the changes and potential firsthand.

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“I think it would be a great tool to show the aesthetic options, but typically when people are looking at the efficiency upgrades to the home, they are really looking at how much energy they can save and the return on their investment,” says DeMond.

The GoTour can be initially used to market the tech and then to kick off the conservation conversation. By explaining the energy savings and benefits of different appliances and systems you may even be able to close a bigger tech deal.

“We are in a 3D world now in terms of architecture and building, having the capacity in the palm of your hand like that has a monumental benefit,” says DeMond.

GoTour Meets Amazon

“We like to call it Amazon meets homebuilding,” says Cardis. Cardis is referring to Amazon’s centralized interface where consumers can see the product, related options and customer reviews all in one place.

Essentially, the GoTour works in a similar way. It brings together options and add-ons for home features and builder reviews. Soon, the program will support reviews on home technology. The builder and integrator is responsible for curating the content and options that appear on the GoTour. That includes energy efficient tech.

For example, in the kitchen, the builder could set up two different option sets in the program. The first could be focused on standard appliances, while the second could feature a kitchen full of efficient appliances and connected devices. You could do the same thing with lighting or solar arrays.

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Energy efficient tech options can be loaded into the program.
Energy efficient tech options can be loaded into the program.

Increasing Options, Reducing Carbon Footprints:

DeMond sees another added benefit from programs like GoTour—a way to reduce the average builder’s carbon footprint. Virtual reality programs accomplish this by bringing prospective clients to your home without them having to drive to the site for an in-person walkthrough.

“As a homebuilder and energy-efficiency guru, I think tools like this can be beneficial to a lot of clients,” says DeMond. “For any kind of homebuilder, it allows them to do more virtually, which reduces their carbon footprint and the need to travel to different places.”

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TecHome Builder has seen an increased use of tools such as GoTour. Tracey Powell utilized a similar program to allow folks with disabilities to tour her tiny home.

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Tour the Greenbuild Unity Home


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About The Author

Michael Black is a staff writer and content coordinator at TecHome Builder. He has a particular interest in new solar developments and smart energy systems and is always looking for the next smart home trend to cover. As the youngest member of the TecHome team, Michael brings a passion that keeps the team energized. He also is instrumental in leading our social media efforts.

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