Moveable walls, self-cleaning windows and edible gardens: take a look at the conservatory of the future
First adopted by the Victorians to house exotic citrus trees, conservatories remain a popular addition to British houses, thanks to their versatility and the value they can add to a property.
With this in mind, interior experts at Thomas Sanderson have been turning their thoughts to the future and how technological advances could improve these spaces even further.
Sliding or folding walls are currently used in commercial office spaces, but this idea could be further developed for residential buildings, with the conservatory of the future featuring fully retractable walls, allowing you to create your own outdoor terrace area.
Multi-storey conservatories could also become commonplace, with homeowners extending other areas of their home to make the most of the summer sun.
Leisure time could also be transformed, as the glass walls of a conservatory could also double as screens for watching television, playing games or even projecting different landscapes to change the ambience of the room.
This could be achieved through the use of new OLED screens, recently developed by technology companies. The fine mesh screens can be embedded into existing glass fixtures, and are virtually undetectable when switched off.
Self-cleaning windows could also become more commonplace, providing a more economical way to keep conservatories gleaming.
These windows are finely coated with a layer of titanium dioxide, which reacts with sunlight to break down dirt. The coating also prevents rainwater from beading, instead allowing it to flow over windows in a sheet-like fashion, washing away loose dirt and leaving a streak free finish.
Conservatories of the future could also become much more eco-friendly, fitted out with specialist guttering to collect rainwater to be fed back into the house. It’s thought this could help households reduce their mains water usage by up to 70%.
Solar panel technology could be integrated into conservatory blinds to harvest solar power when the room isn’t in use. This could then supply the main house, helping to reduce energy bills, or even power motorised controls that allow you to open and close your blinds via remote control.
Transparent solar cells – currently in the early stages of development – could also be embedded into conservatory roofs.
Underfloor heating and cooling systems would help homeowners make the most of their conservatory all year round. By introducing a thermostat control, these systems could essentially self-regulate the temperature to maintain a comfortable environment throughout the seasons.
Edible gardens could also become a prominent feature of future conservatories, bringing the outdoors inside. The supply of rainwater from the roof and abundance of natural light makes these spaces ideal for cultivating a little horticulture.