With only Earth to call home, people are turning to environmentally friendly methods and products to do their part for the planet more often. Over 30 percent of builders are focusing on eco-friendly homes with over half of their projects focused on sustainability. This article focuses on 5 sustainable trends in the home from smart devices, building materials, and home features to recycling insulation.
Smart devices pop up more often in homes today and they’re not just for setting reminders or automatically making coffee anymore. Take the Nebia shower head for instance. Designed to produce less water each time a person takes a shower, Nebia uses water droplet technology to envelope a person in water while in the shower. It uses less water and uses an easy to install and sleek-looking shower head.
The smart plug addresses energy vampires head on. An energy vampire is a device that consumes energy even when it’s not on. A smart plug goes into the wall and uses a coordinating smartphone app to find and stop energy-consuming devices in the act.
Speaking of energy, there are smart devices that address heating and cooling in the home as well. Examples include Nest. Smart thermostats are also managed via an app. They focus on regulating temperatures and not heating unnecessary rooms. This amounts to hundreds of dollars in savings per year once installed.
Reclaimed Building Materials
Repurposing building materials for a new home build or a remodel is a trend that will endure. By reusing different types of wood for cabinets and floors, they’ll withstand constant use over many years better than newer lumber. Plus the home will have added character. These two things together equal a smaller carbon footprint when building a home.
Healthy Home Products
The air quality inside of a house is even worse than is outside. Bad indoor air quality leads to health issues such as asthma and allergies. To prevent these issues, being mindful of materials used is another trend. Examples include:
- Low VOC paint
- Non-vinyl flooring
- Good ventilation system
- Eco-friendly carpets and padding
- Non-toxic home insulation.
Sustainable Home Features
In addition to using reclaimed building materials and healthier products, homes use sustainable features too. The tankless water heater is one example. Tradition water heaters hold water inside of them that is continuously heated and always available to use. Since water is not needed all the time, content heating wastes energy and requires a larger footprint. A tankless water heater heats water on demand as required so it doesn’t need to hold water. Instead, tankless water heaters go near the bathroom or kitchen and heat water as required.
Green roofs also help to cut energy use in homes by reducing heat or cold inside. The average home spends a significant amount on heating and cooling every year. Green roofing materials reflect the sun’s UV rays more effectively in the warmer months. When used with insulation on the underside of the roof, the heat stays in the home longer during the colder months. Green roofing materials last longer than their traditional counterparts making it a smart investment for utilities and life of the home in the long-term.
Solar energy is another popular green home trend gaining traction with every passing year. New innovations in solar technology such as shingles and batteries give homeowners longer lasting energy. Solar roof panels are just the beginning! Solar attic fans and water tanks are also available to help people get the energy they need without a costly utility bill or large environmental impact.
The last green home trend is recycling. It’s becoming even more common and easier than ever before. Once upon a time, recycling mostly centered on bottles, cans, and things of that nature. Now many cities and countries are banning single-use plastic bags. According to this infographic by Trucks and Parts, on average, Americans use 500 plastic bags per capita, per year. All bags, whether plastic or not, are reusable.
Food scrap recycling is also getting better. Most yard trimmings and food scraps are usually put in the same container when recycled. Separating them is often better for sorting purposes. Now people can put food scrap recyclers in their home that turns scrap into soil. More will likely come in the future.
At one time, creating an eco-friendly home and indoor environment represented a challenge. A shift in thinking and creating better products and materials has lessened this challenge. Thanks to these home trends, reducing the carbon footprint of a family is easier and more economical than ever.