By Lori Melton
Green home building is on rise as today’s home buyers are increasingly considering renewable, sustainable design options for their home. A McGraw Hill SmartMarket report estimates by 2018, 38 percent of builders for single-family homes and 25 percent of remodelers will do more than 90 percent of their projects green. Whether you’re looking to make some eco-savvy upgrades to your existing home or you’re looking to go green from the ground up with a new build, here are some exciting green design trends found in the current housing market.
Smart home automation makes it convenient to control and automate heating and cooling, lights, refrigerators and even washers and dryers remotely from your smart phone, tablet, PC, or hub. Popular automated platforms include Amazon Alexa. Simply tell Alexa, “Turn on the porch light,” and your wish is Alexa’s command for connected devices. Nest thermostats will track energy use in its first week and turn itself up or down, based on your activity, in addition to recommending ways to reduce your energy usage each month. Automated lighting systems, like Philips Hue, can control lights throughout your home, create color palettes, set mood lighting and more just by using an app. Overall, voice-controlled and app-controlled commands help promote energy efficiency while making everyday tasks simpler.
Imagine how much time you’d save if you never had to dust blinds again. Using smart windows that would change from clear to opaque and back again in less than a minute would eliminate the need for blinds. Stanford University engineers have developed dynamic window prototypes that can do just that. Some companies currently offer dimmable, switchable glass, which help regulate heat and light that can be controlled remotely. Stanford’s design would potentially optimize lighting in rooms – and even cars, while cutting heating and cooling costs by around 20 percent.
Reclaimed Building Materials
Using reclaimed wood and other recycled materials during the build process is a great way to incorporate green elements into your home design. Reusing materials reduces waste and can also reduce building costs. Everything from hardwood flooring to doors to crown molding, fixtures and windows can be salvaged from a deconstructed space and reused in a new environment. Sometimes these features can enhance a home’s aesthetic and add character to a space.
Green home construction isn’t just better for the environment, it’s also healthier for human inhabitants. Benefits listed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) include improved air and water quality, waste stream reduction, natural resource conservation and enhanced occupant comfort and health. These things ultimately come together to improve quality of life. Improved indoor air quality is great for everyone, but, can be particularly good for anyone suffering from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory disorders.
Solar And Wind Power
More homes are being powered by sustainable energy options like solar and wind-powered systems as opposed to fossil fuels. Features such as solar panels and solar gardens help harness the energy of the sun. And, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, small wind electric systems are “one of the most cost-effective home-based renewable energy systems — with zero emissions and pollution.” Plus, wind systems can potentially lower your electric bills by 50 to 90 percent.