Here are the top 10 trends in green building for 2010 and beyond, according to research by The Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit green building organization:
1. Smart grid for the home
A smart grid allows electricity suppliers and customers to monitor and control their home energy footprint. With the development of web-based display panels that show total energy usage in a home, homeowners will be more conscious of and hopefully change the way they use energy.
2. Energy labeling
Accurate energy ratings for homes will be more important this year than before, as homeowners become more concerned with saving energy. Energy labeling will differentiate homes from each other, add monetary value, and alert homeowners about energy improvements need to be made.
3. BIM software
Building information modeling software is a tool to create accurate, detailed building designs that increase efficiency and performance in the construction process. BIM software is currently being modified for use by homeowners and small building owners.
4. Approval from the financial community
This year it might be easier to finance and insure a green home as lenders and insurers see green homeowners as more responsible than regular homeowners. Those who own a green home are more likely to regularly invest in maintenance and less likely to miss payments.
5. Smaller-sized homes
Are huge mansions going extinct in the near future to make way for smaller, modest homes? Highly doubtful, but as energy prices and interest rates continue to rise and consumers become more price-sensitive, homeowners will be more interested in buying smaller homes or “right-sizing” to fit their needs.
Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a neighborhood where everyone recycles, everything is in walking or cycling distance, and all homes have Energy Star appliances? Across the United States, sustainable communities are forming that are low-impact and green.
7. Water Conservation
Water is an important resource for homeowners, so much so that residential water use constitutes over half of the water publicly supplied in the US. The EPA’s WaterSense label, similar to the Energy Star label, is available for new homes that effectively reduce water usage by 20% compared to a standard home.
8. Carbon Calculation
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for about half the greenhouse gas emissions released in the U.S. To decrease the amount of carbon emissions produced, the green building industry is focusing on the materials and processes used to create buildings. Homeowners can estimate their home’s CO2 emission levels with a home carbon calculator.
9. Net Zero Buildings
Net zero buildings, usually smaller in size, generate more energy than they use in a year through eco-friendly features and onsite renewable energy sources.
10. Sustainable Building Education
As the green building industry continues to grow, professionals, including designers, architects, and insurance agents, outside the green industry will want to join in the action. There are many ways people can learn about sustainable building, including the Internet, classes, and even college programs.
…to your wallet
A green home not only saves you money in utility bills, but also is less subject to depreciation in the housing market over time.
…to the Earth
As more eco-friendly homes are built this year, energy and water consumption will decrease, and so will carbon emissions, leading to a greener world.
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