Eco-Home Trends for 2010
The trend toward greener, more sustainable building underlies many design choices of today’s buyers. There is a strong connection between houses, energy use and sustainability. Here are seven green house features that will be in demand in 2010.
Today’s home buyers would like to reduce their carbon footprint and save on utility bills. They want their home to be energy efficient. Low E Glass, R 38 insulation, high efficiency AC systems, passive solar orientation, solar panels, energy rated appliances, tankless water heaters, and LED lighting are some of the basics that buyers expect to find, or are willing to upgrade to.
Ten years ago there was no generalized concern about adhesives, pressboard products, high VOC paint, or off-gassing from carpet. For today’s health conscious buyers these features are top of mind. Their interest is getting deeper and more technical. Buyers are concerned about how construction materials were made, and the energy cost of transporting them. Today’s buyers prefer locally made or recycled products that are eco-friendly to produce, and safe to have in their homes. Insulation made from old blue jeans is a perfect fit. It can be produced in a sustainable way, avoids waste, and is poses no health hazard.
Energy produced on site is gaining ground. Neighborhood associations must now consider whether to allow solar panels and wind turbines on roofs. Homes that operate at “net-zero energy” are already possible. New alternative energy sources will become more cost effective. A popular recent trend has been the solar tube, and alternative to the skylight, to gather solar energy and reflect the light down a tube into the room.
These have been a must since the 1980’s. However, today air pollution and the net heat loss from fireplaces matter more. Many have been converted to gas log systems. An alternative is the “direct vent” fireplace, which functions as a heating appliance. In warmer climates buyers may opt out of fireplaces altogether. On the other hand, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are trending in.