We're starting construction on a new home in Austin in November 2005.
I have a background in software, but very little in controls. I've been following Zigbee and Z-Wave for awhile. It doesn't look like Zigbee products will be available in time, but I want to explore Z-Wave.
I'm completely open about what types of systems to use -- I'm just starting to look seriously.
I'm going to recommend INSTEON because A. it works for me and B. it's a very flexible/expansive system since it supports X10. This means you can control INSTEON devices with X10 controllers like the IR Command Console (http://www.smarthome.com/4040.html) or via X10 software for Voice Recognition and Remote Access (i.e. http://www.smarthome.com/1450.HTML)
Aside from being backwards compatible with the closet thing to a standard there is, the technology itself is fairly rock solid, at the very least it's extremely reliable and fast. Plus they just released the new INSTEON KeypadLinc! In my opinion the KeypadLinc's are what really bring a system together, because we are all use to interacting with our lights from wall switches, but with KeypadLincs, it's just like we're use to only we have more buttons, more options, more flexibility.
Can you say you never have to walk into or out of dark rooms? Can you say you can turn off your kitchen light from your remote? Can you get comfy in bed and reach over and turn the lights off only AFTER you're in bed, and while you're still in bed? Ah... It's great!
btw, here is a link to the new INSTEON KeypadLinc:
Also, if you are going to go the INSTEON route, I suggest you get a Starter Kit:
The more KeypadLincs the better! I wish I could have one @ every switch location in my house, but for now I'll settle with the entry and exit points.