Sustainable Construction: 6 Eco-Friendly Trends in Real Estate
As sustainable living becomes more popular, people are looking for strategies to make their abodes more eco-friendly. The construction industry has responded by establishing trends that help homeowners reduce their environmental impact. Read on to find a few of the most popular sustainable construction trends in residential real estate.
Passive Solar Features
Passive solar features let homeowners harness the power of the sun. This reduces the amount of electricity needed to heat and cool homes during different seasons, resulting in lower utility bills. South-facing windows, for example, let in the most sun so that homeowners can rely less on heating and artificial light sources. Windows are also an essential factor when considering the energy efficiency of a property. Windows with low U-values are typically best because they reduce heat loss in colder months and heat gain in warmer ones.
People are also installing living roofs to enhance their eco-friendly property. Living roofs mimic natural landscapes by using soil, plants, and shallow-rooted vegetation. They prevent the heating and cooling effects that typical roofs have and other benefits such as cutting down on noise pollution from nearby highways, airports, etc.
Another popular sustainable construction trend is using rooftop solar panels for electricity rather than coal-fired power plants. The federal government often offers incentives for people who install solar panels.
Solar Water Heaters
Solar water heaters are essentially just like conventional water heaters, but they use the sun's power to generate hot water. Solar water heaters pay off by reducing water heating expenses by up to 80%.
Green Building Standards and LEED Certification
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a green building certification program overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED-certified buildings usually meet several sustainable construction trends, such as using recycled and sustainable materials. Getting LEED certification has become a goal for many commercial buildings, and the trend is steadily making its way into residential housing.
Net-zero homes are a new alternative to conventional styles. Conventional builds typically rely on energy from non-renewable sources of fuel, such as coal and natural gas. They also require heating and cooling systems that release pollutants into the environment. In contrast, net-zero homes don't rely on fossil fuels or external utilities for electricity or heat. Thanks to new home building technology, these properties produce as much electricity as they consume (or more!), resulting in a net-zero energy bill and a nonexistent carbon footprint.
Smart Technology Energy Conservation
Smart technology has become an integral component in sustainable construction. Smart thermostats, for example, use sensors to manage how much energy goes into heating and cooling interiors. They can also regulate lighting and appliances to reduce power usage when homeowners are away or asleep. These energy-efficient home upgrades work together to make smart homes more efficient than conventional ones.
Recyclable and Renewable Materials
The construction industry becoming more aware of the need to use green building materials. To meet this demand, many suppliers now sell eco-friendly building materials made from recycled products and renewable resources. Products like bamboo flooring, recycled glass tiles, cork flooring, and sustainably harvested hardwoods can all help homeowners reduce their environmental impact.
Water Conservation Features
In addition to creating homes that are greener from the ground up, sustainable construction also focuses on inside the home. One way to reduce water waste is with low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. These features use less water per flush compared to conventional ones. Another way is through dual-flush toilets that have two flush options: one for liquid waste and the other for solid.
Homeowners are also installing rain barrels to harvest water from downspouts, which can irrigate gardens or outdoor areas. Even whole-house systems filter greywater (i.e., wastewater generated by baths, showers, sinks, etc.) before it goes down the drain. Rainwater harvesting has become popular in arid regions like Arizona, where some cities are even offering rebates for residents who install these systems.
Try Out These Eco-Friendly Home Design Trends Today
These sustainable trends require homeowners to spend more money initially, while conventional trends might be cheaper upfront. But homeowners can recoup these costs through tax deductions and other incentives. Sustainable homes can result in a lower utility bill and a smaller carbon footprint in the long run.
With many people becoming aware of environmental issues, sustainable construction has been a topic of growing interest in recent years. Whether people install solar panels on their roofs to reduce emissions or use green building materials to build new homes, these trends have become more popular within the construction industry over the last few years as more people become concerned about the environment.