Construction on our KB Home-led, smart healthy home research and development lab got underway in the desert last week, with a ground-breaking at Inspirada, the master-planned community a stone's throw from Sloan Canyon National Reserve in West Henderson, Nev., a quick ride from the Las Vegas Strip.

[Here, left to right, is the team on the ground at the KB site in Inspirada: Darryl Lew, project manager, KB Home; John McClaury, vp sales and marketing, KB Home Las Vegas; Spencer Loomis, vp, operations, KB Home Las Vegas; Brian Kunec, division president, KB Home Las Vegas; Christa Bilbery, director, forward planning, KB Home; Andy Baron, principal, AndersonBaron; Joseph Kandt, project superintendent, KB Home Las Vegas; Dan Bridleman, SVP, sustainability, technology and strategic sourcing, KB Home; Manny Gonzalez, managing principal, KTGY; Paul Tourbaf, president, Residential Construction, Hanley Wood; Michelle Merrick, plans manager, KB Home Las Vegas; Jacob Atalla, vp of sustainability, KB Home; Craig LeMessurier, senior director of corporate communications, KB Home; Jennifer Castenson, director, Thought Leadership content, Hanley Wood; Martin Espinoza, director, Events, Hanley Wood; and Keith McCloskey, executive director of design, KTGY.]

The undertaking--KB Home Projekt--focuses on an ambitious goal, for eventual home buyers and for architects, engineers, and builders whose business is to serve them: To break new ground in home building, transforming design, building partnerships, construction processes, and, ultimately, a household's experience in a home and community, to shed light "where tomorrow lives," for everyday buyers of new houses in new neighborhoods.

Ideas that evolved into KB Home Projekt's innovative take on what a smart healthy home of the future can be trace back three or more years, to when BUILDER joined with KB Home and we challenged ourselves to design KB Home ProjeKt for the 2016 Greenbuild show floor.

That initiative stretched then-conventional architecture, engineering, and construction practices in three game-changing ways, each focused on setting a new bar on value, excitement, and attainability for homes whose enclosure and systems performed at net zero energy and best-of-breed water conservation levels.

  1. The Greenbuild ProjeKt illuminated a belt-and-suspenders approach and execution to building envelope and operating systems inter-operability, one that advanced the collaborative development time-lines of thermal, air, vapor barrier, and durability solutions among discrete manufacturers to the extent that ProjeKt partners became strategic co-developers, with urgent stakes in the success of the venture.
  2. The ProjeKt tested a top 10 home builder’s preliminary exploration and investment in off-site fabrication as a critical factor in achieving the kind of quality, iterative work-stream efficiency and velocity, waste reduction, and skilled labor offsets achieved by automation.
  3. Thirdly, the KB Home ProjeKt at Greenbuild became a bright-line demonstration recognizing that smart home technology, breakthrough energy and water sustainability performance, livability excitement and inspiration, and attainability must not be mutually exclusive values, one trading off for the others. Instead, they can, and must co-exist if they’re going to show a path to the future of home building investment, design, planning, and construction.

Now, comes an added value proposition challenge: health and well-being. Health and wellness is a "next big thing" industry, especially as America's aging and wealthy Baby Boom generation embraces the ideas and means to live healthier lives in their latter years. Home building design, engineering, technology, and accessibility must keep pace, and for new residential construction stakeholders to be able to hold their share of the aging-in-place market, new homes are where innovation has to move ahead of the curve.

In other words, builders need to make smarter, more energy and water efficient, and healthier homes part of their standard portfolio of value offerings to buyers--who are not going to stand around and wait for builders to develop and install the features and functionality they expect to be in all homes of the future.

So, KB Home Projekt will open up its laboratory learning and discovery process on what buyers want, what's non-negotiable, what they'll pay for, and how to begin delivering on those preferences, attitudes, values, and demands--resetting the standard builders respond to when they offer new homes in the next three- to 10-year horizon.

Here are a few unique and exclusive opportunities to avail of by following the Projekt journey to its unveiling moment at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in January 2019.

  • KB Home ProjeKt’s expanded and inclusive ecosystem of stakeholder partners—manufacturers, community and utility enterprise associates, technology developers, planners, designers, educators, and marketing experts--each of them invested in and committed to showing both home buyers what they can and should expect of their new home builders and community developers, and home builders how to meet and exceed those expectations, will serve as a "how to collaborate" R&D model for other builders as they take on designing homes of the future.
  • Our Hanley Wood and Metrostudy sibling data and analytics investment and research initiatives will reveal exclusive insights into the who, what, why, and when of real demand for health and well-being features and functionality in new homes. Our academic and futurist think-tank partners will help guide us on where focus on healthier smart homes needs to aim, and how to get there.
  • Our unique partnership with Fully Integrated Offsite Solutions partner Entekra will continue to reveal how home builders can pilot, develop, design, create construction documentation, and cut-over to offsite factory assembly of a newly designed floorplan and elevation.
  • Our focus beyond the home itself, illuminating the present and future importance of a holistic community approach to connected health and well-being will be an added dimension of the learning and discovery laboratory we set up with the KB Home Projekt.
  • Above all, a first-hand view of how customers--people living on everyday wages and incomes, with every day financial means--are the obsessive focus of KB's R&D exploration here, will come through clearly in the respective story lines and visual revelations.

It's an exciting journey ahead, and we don't know today how every step of it will work--or not. The "home-as-a-service" era is about to begin. And, we're glad to have you with us!