by Kimberly Blackford
Green building and living certainly went mainstream in the last year, so more Americans understand how simple changes in their everyday lives can really make a positive impact on the earth and its resources. It’s a breath of fresh air actually!
With anything related to being green in our homes being hot right now, what trends in green building will reign? There are several predictions that have been made by the Earth Advantage Institute for the upcoming year.
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In The Green
It will be easy and affordable to build an energy efficient green home as we move into the future. In the past, homes with such perks were considered more expensive to build although they may save money for the homeowner in the long run. Green homes and healthy homes will be more accessible to buyers thanks to mainstreaming many green technologies and products over the last couple of years. Leading the charge are affordable housing groups such as Habitat for Humanity who are using energy STAR appliances and green building materials.
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With social networking sites like facebook and groupon adding millions of members, people have begun sharing information on their energy consumption in order to gain rewards by local community retailers, restaurants and other groups. This will trend will continue.
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Down-Size Or Right-Size?
With the adjustment in the size of the homes being built with the downturn in the economy, homeowners are automatically using less and are now aware of their use of electricity and natural gas more than ever. Skipping all the lavish extras in a newly built home automatically keeps your home from wasting the earth’s precious materials.
Homebuilders have begun to realize that if walls and ceilings are insulated so thick, a home can actually be heated by everyday activities like cooking and computer usage. Homes being heated in this way can be described as Passive Homes and they are so tightly sealed and insulated that they can be furnace-less and ductless. If temperature conditions are too drastic in an area’s climate, then builders are opting to use small, yet extremely efficient air conditioners and furnaces to avoid wasting power. And, radiant heating is also becoming more widely accepted as a plausible heating method.
With so many regions of the country experiencing water shortages throughout the year, using a home’s grey water, or a home’s wastewater except toilet water is gaining popularity. Benefits of collecting this water include reducing water use, reduced strain on sewer and septic systems and ground water replenishment. These collection systems for grey water can be as simple as a pipe or they can include collection tanks and pumps.
Beside these residential ideas for continuing the green movement, builders have begun to realize how important it is to build commercial buildings with stricter green standards, products and materials. These larger buildings consume more energy and resources than any home does, so commercial builders everywhere are taking a strong interest in making community buildings, offices, sporting facilities, among other places more efficient than they have ever been before.
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