Custom homes fill a unique niche in the world of construction, offering opportunities for builders and buyers to experiment with new eco-friendly materials and design trends, and potentially help set the stage for a new standard in green home design. While energy efficiency is often considered when designing the interior of a pre-built or shell home, custom home builders can take efficiency and sustainability to a new level by considering eco-friendly designs and best practices at every step of the process. We have outlined below our five top eco-friendly trends that have been appearing in custom home-building.
Battery Operated Homes
When it comes to a low-carbon footprint lifestyle the ideal for many is to live off-the grid and to only generate and use as much energy as the home needs. In a world where everyone depends on electronic devices, this idea may feel more like a dream than an achievable reality, but with the help of solar panels and the Tesla Powerwall system, living off-the-grid is possible.
The Tesla Powerwall is meant as a backup battery, but through careful application of solar panels and designing the home to have net-zero energy use, an innovative builder can make a home 100% self-sustaining. Before, people who used solar to power their homes would have to buy utilities after the sun went down, but the Powerwall stores enough power that it would work for up to a week, or potentially more, without any sun. This combination will allow you to save money, reduce your carbon footprint and be prepared for power outages
Sustainable and eco-friendly home design is important, but recently more emphasis has been placed on the people who live inside them and ensuring that the homes are built to encourage their wellness and health. For example, a home can be designed with a circadian lighting system that can increase productivity and mood simply by changing the light color or intensity at different times through the day.
The way a home interacts with nature also impacts how a homeowner feels when living in it. A good builder must consider not just the efficiency and sustainability of the home design, but also the presence and treatment of nature in the landscaping. When you keep nature in mind during the design process, you can design around your natural spaces and open the living space to be fully connected with nature.
Smart Home Technology
The prevalence of smart home technology and the increasing number of devices meant to take advantage of the prevalence of smart hubs is paving the way for some exciting new trends in green home design. With tools like Google Nest Hub or Amazon Alexa, a homeowner can use voice-control to change A/C temperature, unlock doors, or turn on lights remotely, and these technologies now are beginning to allow for previously unimaginable levels of efficiency.
By using smart home technologies, a custom home can be designed so that every facet of the home works together to increase efficiency. Your smart home could close all the curtains and turn the AC on to cool down the house to your ideal temperature right before you get home, rather than keeping the system idling all day, and with motion sensors you could enable your home lighting to work without having to touch light switches, instead of having lights that turn on and off based on where you are in the home. The best part of this technology is that it can be installed and upgraded after the home is built, so it is accessible to those who want to streamline their home without having to build a custom home.
Material choice is almost as important as proper design when it comes to creating an eco-friendly custom home. Many eco-conscious homeowners are most concerned with building an environmentally friendly house that will resist the damaging effects of severe or prolonged exposure to the elements, and the best way to do this is to make sure your construction materials are durable and energy efficient. Sustainable products such as fiber cement siding or NuCedar are durable and energy-efficient, meaning that they will require less upkeep and less overall investment.
A well-built home made with durable exterior materials, extra insulation, and energy efficient windows and doors can help keep a home eco-friendly by avoiding drafts and keeping the home airtight. In addition, using a HVAC system with a highly efficient heat pump ensures low energy consumption without threatening your comfort. Even in considering landscape you can use sustainable plants, such as those indigenous to the area, where the environment will take care of them and they will require less water and upkeep.
Modular construction generally refers to the process of purchasing pre-built modules for your needs rather than attempting to build everything on the jobsite; purchasing prefabricated wall structures and pretreated lumber that was manufactured in a controlled off-site location, rather than risking issues like mold or weather delays impacting construction.
Typically, there is less wasted material when products are built in a factory setting rather than on-site, and there is less chance of damaged materials due to improperly stored materials being left on a jobsite for longer than expected due to sudden delay. Not everything can be built in pre-made modules and shipped to the jobsite for installation, but by doing so wherever possible a builder can ensure a high-quality build, while remaining as eco-friendly and efficient as possible.
Because green homes are rapidly becoming mainstream, building an eco-friendly custom home has never been easier. Whether you are looking to build a custom home or remodel your existing home to be more eco-friendly, see how the Ramos team can help get you there.