July 2012

Sunset in Solar Panel
Technology is one of the best and worst things about living in the year 2012. It can keep us connected to people thousands of miles away, but it can also increase the distance between those living under the same roof (anyone who’s ever been texted by their teenage son or daughter from across the house knows what I’m talking about).

Home technology is no different. It can turn our house into an “intelligent home” or it can make us feel overwhelmed looking at so many different screens. As usual, somewhere in the middle is a happy balance. With that in mind, let’s look at some emerging technologies in the areas of home automation, entertainment, and energy savers that provide a more comfortable balance between technophobe and technophile.

The Connected House

Smart home technology is increasingly focused on the idea of “the connected house,” a kind of home automation that makes it easier for us to control the various systems of the house remotely and with more fluidity. Wi-Fi-controlled thermostats like NEST, not only allow you to adjust heating and cooling when you’re away from home; they also learn and adapt to your living patterns through artificial intelligence. Google wants to take home automation even  further with its Android @ Home project, which considers every appliance in your home a potential application for your phone, starting with an LED light bulb that can be controlled from afar by an Android-powered smartphone

Big Entertainment, Little Boxes

Home technology is a constant process of condensing multiple functions into single devices, and that certainly applies to the plethora of entertainment options beings packed onto TV screens. Major manufacturers are producing internet-connected TVs that serve as family hubs for web browsing, online gaming, Skype/webcam chats, digital music, movies… and the occasional TV program. In 2012 Google introduced the Nexus Q, a sphere-shaped device that links to televisions and stereo speakers to deliver all the music, movies, and shows that Google Play has to offer. Future home technology has even invaded the bathroom mirror; the CyberTecture Mirror is a touch screen that delivers web content while we gaze, perhaps confusedly, at our own reflection.

Technology Meets Clean Energy

The description “intelligent home design” implies that home technology can be more than just whimsical remote-controlled diversions — it can also help make our homes more energy efficient and less harmful to the environment. This is becoming a reality, thanks to the bright minds in the field of building science. Technologies like Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIP) are transforming various parts of the house structure – window glass, siding, roof tiles – into solar-powered generators of clean energy. Solar devices are assuming other unlikely forms, such as Solar Ivy, the small PV panels that mimic the look of wall-climbing ivy. Like the previously mentioned NEST thermostat, there are smart, self-adjusting temperature controls that keep us comfortable while using a minimum amount of energy. Grey water systems recycle water from laundry, showers and baths for landscaping use. Today, homeowners have the option of installing a rooftop mini wind turbine, a contraption that can help supplement electricity use at the slightest breeze.

From playful entertainment to serious energy production, home technologies are an evolving element in a crowded tech marketplace. If we can incorporate technology as useful tools we can enjoy all the options at our fingertips while making smart environmental choices at the same time.

Stay tuned for the latest home automation news at Sheahomes.com

About the author

: Josh Englander is a novelist and the founder of DesignLens, an online architectural publication that explores residential design and land planning concepts in America.


Shea Homes Goes the Extra Mile

by Shea Homes Northern California on July 27, 2012

Shea Homes is committed to excellence. We strive to bring you the best customer service, the best homes and the best experience you can have while purchasing your new home. Shea goes the extra mile in ensuring that their customers are happy and homes are designed with the customer in mind.

Shea has added a step in the home plan design process that other builders may not include. Once a home is conceptualized and plans are drawn the construction team goes to work to build a home. The foundation is poured, the home is framed and members from the construction, architectural and sales teams are invited to walk the premises before production begins.

For the first time, those who have worked tirelessly to draw up and conceptualize plans are able to see the frame of the home before their eyes. This opportunity gives them a chance to visualize the look and feel of the home. During the model frame walk the whole home is evaluated, and often, aspects of the home are changed. Perhaps a room feels small, or a window doesn’t fit, or an island is offset in the kitchen. Whatever it may be, the frame walk provides a unique opportunity for those directly involved in the process of designing and building our homes to make changes and revisions allowing us to offer our customers high quality, thoughtfully-designed homes.

The frame walk is a very important step in the process of designing our new home plans. The home is tweaked and fine-tuned to ensure that you are not only safe, but provided with the best home possible.

Pictured: On 7/25/12 the Shea team did a frame walk for two new plans at Esplanade in Mountain House.


For some, school is out for a couple more weeks and many families are settling into being at home for the what’s left of the summer. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to keep the heat from putting a damper on this fun time of the year. Here are our top ten suggestions for fun and practical ways to beat the heat:

For your practical side…

1)      On especially hot days, try to avoid heat-generating activities, such as cooking indoors or running the dryer. It’s the perfect time to break out the grill and keep the heat outside. But since it’s difficult to avoid cooking inside entirely, remember to use your range fan to vent the hot air out of your house when you use the stovetop.

2)      Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary. The heat they produce can make the thermostat think the house is warmer than it really is, and your system will run harder than it needs to.

3)      Did you know that white not only reflects light well, but it also reflects heat? Installing white [read more…]


Post image for Value, choice and convenience at Tresana in Highlands Ranch

Value, choice and convenience at Tresana in Highlands Ranch

by Shea Homes Colorado on July 26, 2012


If you are looking for stylish attached living in an ideal location, the Italian-inspired neighborhood of Tresana in Highlands Ranch is the place you will want to call home.  Located at University and C470 residents can easily be on their way to downtown Denver, the Denver Tech Center, or the mountains in no time.  Shea Homes invites you to explore newly revitalized models and take advantage of base pricing starting from the low $200s on residences in its Tapestry Collection.  Now under construction is a stunning residence that will be ready by year end.  Additional opportunities are available for home buyers to select personal design finishes for homes that will be ready early next year. [read more…]


Shea Homes Offers Mortgage Assistance for Low- to Moderate Income San Diegans

July 26, 2012

  A new program available through Shea Homes is helping low- to moderate-income San Diegans realize the dream of new home ownership. Don’t have the money for a down-payment? Shea is now participating in a home buying assistance program that offers the following assistance to qualified individuals: • Total financing of up to 99.5% of the price […]

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Mountain House Gets A High School

July 23, 2012

  Mountain House, CA is a beautiful community centrally located between Tracy and Livermore. This master planned community was approved by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors in 1994 and the first home foundation was poured in 2003. When Mountain House is complete the community will have twelve villages and a Town Center including three elementary schools […]

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At Shea Homes we cut out the jargon

July 20, 2012

Nearly every industry or vocation has a definition of terms – a glossary of words used in the business for those who aren’t familiar.  Most of the time the terms are technical or better understood by those doing the work and the customer has to be educated on their meaning.  Shea Homes stands out in […]

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First of new popular plans to complete by year end at BackCountry

July 19, 2012
Thumbnail image for First of new popular plans to complete by year end at BackCountry

  Shea Homes has received an overwhelmingly favorable response to its new plans and models recently added to the Shadow Walk Collection at BackCountry. Currently under construction, three of these new plans are scheduled to be ready by the end of the year.  First is a 2,875-square-foot Autumn Haven residence that features four bedrooms, three and […]

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New Models Now Open at Riviera!

July 18, 2012

  Riviera’s newest models are now open! Our newly decorated models, the three newest additions to the Urban Trilogies, grand opened July 14th.

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So, You’re Ready to Buy Your Home

July 16, 2012

You’ve finally made the decision. This decision hasn’t been easy and you didn’t make it on a whim. You know that this will be one of the biggest decisions of your life so far, but you know the time is right. You’re ready to buy a home. You’ve lived in a house before but it […]

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