Green Architecture: Changing the Home Design Trends of Today

Whether you are considering a home renovation or exploring designs for a new house, one of the common suggestions that you will get both from architects and engineers is to make it adaptive and earth-friendly. For those who may not be too inclined on the technical details of home designs, “adaptive” and “earth-friendly” are just words, that also often appeal to be expensive and complicated to achieve.

However, with the ever changing trends in home designs, we need to start equipping ourselves with knowledge on economical yet safe home design choices. With this, we will try to look into the basic concepts of earth-friendly and adaptive homes – two concepts that are closely interrelated.

Earth-friendly Home Designs

These designs are born out of the campaigns of several countries for an environment-friendly lifestyle or sustainable living, which of course includes house designs. Along with this, professionals in home construction and design have also innovated their skill set to meeting these new standards.

When we speak of environment-friendly home designs, this has a lot to do with the materials used to build or renovate the house. For instance, some architects have been practicing the use of biodegradable materials in house interiors.

These design techniques closely resemble that of the ancient times, when majority of the house materials come from natural sources. Even the paint products for the house have to be eco-friendly, which is not only safer for the walls, but for the occupants’ health, as well.

Other strategies being applied by architects is the creation of outdoor rooms in the house.

This means using natural light and air to save on energy for the room. All these, along with eco-friendly household practices easily contribute to having an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

Adaptive Home Designs

This type of home design deals with two major things:

1) the ability of the house to adapt to the changing lifestyle of its residents, and 2) ability of the house to adapt and withstand the various environmental changes.

Also operating around the concept of sustainable living, these designs are meant to make the house last longer and the family living in it safer. Common feature of these homes are sturdy lumber and concrete, insulated panels, and dome-shaped ceilings. These type of house built has been proven to be more resistant to storms, tornadoes, and even earthquakes by the Wind Engineering Research Center. With natural calamities hitting the country almost every year, it pays to be keener in the construction materials used for your house.

When it comes to adaptive spaces for home, this is where secret rooms and sliding door comes in. This is also an innovative trend that architects and interior designers are looking into, in order to make a house with limited floor area still spacious enough for a growing family. Aside from choosing space-saver and multi-purpose furniture, it is also important to choose a house design that is easier to renovate in case the need for expansion arises. And this is exactly what your architect mean when they speak of adaptive home design.

Green Home Building Trends For 2010

Although the building industry had a dark year in 2009, Green building seemed to somehow stick out and shine. According to the Multiple Listing Service date, certified sustainable green new homes actually rose the past year in the northern west coast areas like Portland and Seattle. This trend is believed to spread over the U.S. and green building is expected to grow within new home sales. Already new home sales are on a rise from a year ago with March of 2010 seeing the biggest jump in new home sales in 47 years. So what trends can we expect to see in 2010 in green new homes?

1. Energy Monitoring Home Dashboards. The increasing demand for energy efficient homes, the development of a custom web-based display panel within the home, will show real-time home energy use. This sophisticated produced can break down the real time energy use of homeowners appliances, which will help a homeowner change the way they use their electricity. For example the way an electric car miles per gallon indicator encourages the owner to adapt their driving habits, new homes that offer these Dashboards may encourage homeowners to reach lower energy use. Dashboards will also increase the probability that homeowners of green homes will reach the Energy Performance Score.

2. Energy Efficient Green Home Labeling. Like the miles per gallon label you would find when searching for a new car, energy rating systems for new homes has become popular among legislators. This energy rating system will make it easier for home buyers to see the energy efficiency of one green home compared to another. Each homes score will be available on the MLS.

3. Lenders and Green Homes Make for a Better Bottom Line. Lenders have come to the conclusion that green new homes are better for their bottom line. By seeing a trend of green home owners being more responsible and less probable to default on a loan, due to the fact that most green home owners are more accountable and likely to place higher value on home maintenance. Home owners are also less likely to default due to the decrease in energy coast within their green home. Lenders are now working to get reduced-rate loans and insurance packages for green new home owners.

4. Less Is More. Back when the housing market was booming, a larger homes lead to greater equity. However since that “bubble burst” this is no longer the case. With energy prices expected to rise over time, and the Federal Reserve likely to raise interest rates during 2010, home buyers are likely to feel more at ease with smaller new homes.

5. Water Conservation. Did you know that residential water usage accumulates for more than half of the public water supplied? The EPA decided in December 2009 to implement WaterSense. WaterSense specifies that new homes will need to reduce water use by 20 percent than conventional new home. Mandatory energy labeling in Europe already documents the water efficiency.

6. Net Zero Homes. A net zero home is a green home that generates more energy than it uses over a year. This is done by building a fairly small new home that is extremely energy efficient and uses on site renewable energy like wind, solar or geo-exchange systems.

Beat The Rising Energy Costs With Green Building Trends

Green building trends are becoming increasingly popular among builders, architects and homeowners with every passing year. With growing environmental awareness, more and more people want recycled and sustainable materials to be incorporated in renovation or construction of their houses. They also favor homes which use design and construction techniques developed to improve the indoor air quality and energy efficiency of the house. Apart from enabling the homeowners to feel great about reducing their carbon footprint, eco-friendly building techniques also provide them lifelong savings on the utility bills.

A green home does not need to be like a geodesic dome or a yurt, like the eco-houses that were built a few decades ago. The idea behind building green homes is to save energy. So, it does not matter what size, style or design you opt for, as long as the house is energy-efficient. All types of green buildings have low cooling and heating costs, as they incorporate the principles of solar designs. Today, green building has emerged as a budding segment of home renovation and construction market. This is the reason why, nowadays, you can find numerous vendors exhibiting eco-friendly building services and products.

Nearly all architecture firms specialize in green or sustainable building designs and offer products, like energy-efficient appliances, recycled plastic roof shingles and many more. These companies can offer great help to families that are struggling financially, by helping them lower their rising energy bills. In fact, real estate agents too feel that eco-friendly architecture components act as an added benefit for their property listings. This is because in the current relaxed residential property market home buyers often get more selective while choosing a house. The long-term savings of green houses therefore make for a tempting property package. This also means green homes sell faster than traditional houses and also, at a better price.

Besides, banks and other financial institutions are also realizing the great investment value of green construction. So, you would also see many of them offering more encouraging terms for loan to customers, wanting to borrow money for buying green homes. All these factors are responsible for the increasing popularity of green building trends. Just as people are turning away from the vehicles consuming high amount of fuel and opting for the ones that are fuel-efficient, they are hesitating to live in the traditionally designed homes.

Today, skyrocketing utility bills is a big concern for every homeowner. Thus, buying a green house or making green renovations in the current house is a great way to beat the rising energy costs. To make the most of green building trends, you can look for a capable green architect, builder or constructor, who can help you build or design an eco-friendly house. Apart from proffering financial benefits, green living can also give you numerous health benefits. For instance, improved indoor air quality significantly reduces the risk of many respiratory diseases.