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Green Home Design Trends You Need to Know

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Environmental impact has become a major topic for consumers and businesses over the past few years. As a result, eco-friendliness has quickly become an essential design consideration for many homeowners. In response, home designers are finding new ways to improve green home design and make houses even more sustainable.

You can also make your own home more sustainable by following the latest movements in green construction. Here are six green construction design trends you can use to make a new home more eco-friendly:

1. Solar-Powered and Off-The-Grid Homes

Home solar systems have become a lot more powerful over the past few years. New tech — like home battery systems — means you can run your home almost exclusively on local solar power.

If you stay connected to the grid, you can sell any excess power you generate back to your energy company. You can also detach from the grid entirely and make your home self-powered. However, you’ll need a powerful and durable battery setup to keep your home powered when the solar panels aren’t collecting energy.

2. Tiny Homes

The small size of the average tiny home offers significant environmental benefits for homeowners. These houses don’t use nearly as much building material as normal-sized residences require. They’re also much cheaper to heat and cool. If you want to spring for energy-saving insulation, you won’t have to use nearly as much as you normally would. Energy costs, in general, will also be a lot more manageable.

Tiny homes are often a prime choice for people who want an off-the-grid house. It’s much easier to power a house that’s only a few hundred square feet than an average-sized home.

Tiny homes are affordable, too — some of the cheapest ones cost less than $10,000 to build. They’re also very mobile. Moving a normal-sized house is a major undertaking. A tiny home, by comparison, is easy to ship across the country. Often, tiny homes are designed to allow you to hitch one to a truck and tow it wherever you’re headed.

3. Smart Homes

Smart home tech consists of devices like thermostats and home assistants that connect to the internet to share data. They can all help you cut back on your home’s resource usage. Smart thermostats can intelligently adjust the temperature and connect with home assistants, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, making it possible to change the temperature with just your voice.

Smart energy and water monitors can help you track how much electricity and water your home uses at different times of the year. This ability allows you to identify when you’re using more resources than normal.

Some of these smart home systems can even intelligently adjust your resource usage for you. Smart thermostats, for example, can automatically turn off the heat when a home security system detects no one is home — even if you forget to set the thermostat before you leave.

4. Green Home Materials

Using recycled or energy-efficient materials can go a long way in making a house more eco-friendly. This trend can also lend it an interesting design flair that you wouldn’t get with standard building materials. Home designers have honed in on three green materials in particular:

  1. Deconstructed materials: These are home materials like reclaimed brick, wood paneling and flooring that are salvaged from other construction projects. Often, these supplies are sturdy, unique and more interesting than most materials you’d find for sale in a home design catalog. With deconstructed materials, you also avoid worrying about the environmental impact of harvesting new resources.
  2. Aluminum: This metal is 100% recyclable, making it a popular choice for eco-friendly designers. The material is also strong, highly resistant to corrosion and lightweight — making it a versatile metal that can serve well in many different construction projects.
  3. Bamboo: Designers agree that bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly building materials out there. Because bamboo regenerates quickly — with some species growing up to 35 inches in 24 hours — it’s much more sustainable than other woody materials. And unlike other fast-growing and sustainable building supplies like hemp, bamboo is tough, with a great strength-to-weight ratio and serious durability.

5. Prefabs and “Cargotecture”

Prefab is short for “prefabricated.” These houses are constructed off-site and then shipped to a construction site in pieces, where workers reassemble them. These prebuilt homes are extremely resource-efficient. And because the construction only involves reassembling the already-built house, building a prefab home also decreases construction time significantly. Shortening construction time can reduce the risk of erosion and other serious environmental impacts that this industry poses.

“Cargotecture” is a similar idea. These are buildings consisting of used cargo containers, and this architectural movement offers a way of reusing millions of storage units sitting empty in global ports. These containers remain where they are because it’s often too expensive to return them to their port of origin.

Homes built out of shipping containers are remarkably eco-friendly because the home structure contains 100% recycled materials. Like prefab houses, cargo container homes are low-cost and quick to build — all construction crews need to do is assemble them on-site.

6. High-Efficiency Windows

Traditional windows are typically energy inefficient — to the point where 25% to 30% of residential heating and cooling energy usage is due to windows. Usually, this has meant that if you wanted big statement windows in any part of your house, you would have to balance looks against the extra power you’d use on heating and cooling. If you wanted to create the most energy-efficient residence possible, large windows were a no-go.

New window construction design trends have changed this. High-performance window glazing, thermally broken frames and smaller mullions have made massive windows as eco-friendly as standard-size ones. Even if you don’t want to go bold with your design, upgrading to high-efficiency windows can help you cut down on heating and cooling costs — making your house a little more sustainable.

Improving Sustainability With Green Home Design

New green design trends are making it easier than ever to build a sustainable home. Improved solar-powered systems, new prefabs and green building materials can all construct a house with a minimal environmental impact.

These trends will likely become more popular and effective over time. New green tech — like improved solar batteries — is always in the works and might make homes even more sustainable in the future.

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