Each year, the eco-friendly trend is becoming more and more popular. Thinking about our planet and trying to preserve our environment is of the utmost importance, which is why there are numerous experts coming up with new ways to preserve them.
The starting point of making a difference in our homes. However, this doesn’t only mean doing some minor changes around the house in order to conserve more energy and water. Rather, the entire structure of a building or a house needs to change; that is, it needs to become more eco-friendly in order to help preserve the environment. That is why we have acquired some big construction trends. Those trends may vary from year to year, but this year, we are getting some new improvements in eco-friendly buildings.
15 Trends in Eco-Friendly Construction Ideas
In the past couple of years, climate change has been a lot more notable, and it has caused some major disasters. All around the world, a lot of households, and even cities, were destroyed due to catastrophes caused by climate change. What is more, those natural disasters are only expected to increase in frequency and intensity in the future, and that is why the sustainability trend is being replaced with resilience.
In order to prevent climate change from becoming the number one enemy of the construction business, professionals are changing their game a bit and increasing their standards. Thus, more durable materials and designs are becoming an important part of buildings, as well as non-toxic materials.
This is because if the buildings which are made of toxic materials were to be destroyed or damaged, they can greatly pollute the water, air and soil. Luckily, we already have technologies and materials that can prevent such pollution, in addition to prefab homes that can withstand strong winds, fire-resistant cladding materials and battery systems that preserve certain amounts of electricity in case of power outages.
Another reason resilience is becoming so popular in construction is the financial damage. Each natural disaster and destruction of buildings is a huge financial hit for the market. However, with resilience, every extra dollar invested in construction can result in thousands of dollars saved on recovery.
2. Energy Efficiency
Increasing the energy efficiency of a building doesn’t not only mean simply buying Energy Star labeled appliances. Don’t take this the wrong way; those appliances are definitely making a difference, but today, people are building and renovating their houses in a more energy-efficient way. Since buildings and houses account for 70% of energy use and a great amount of CO2 emissions, builders and homeowners are relying on energy efficiency as much as they can.
Thus, they are using super-insulating materials for walls, as well as energy-efficient doors and windows, and they rely on on-site renewable energy sources. These renewable energy sources, of course, include solar panels and batteries from various providers like Skylight Energy, for example, which can significantly reduce the energy consumption of a building.
3. Biophilic Design
Nature can benefit us, both biologically and psychologically. Unfortunately, in the past several centuries, buildings were designed in such a way to separate us from nature, but with today’s trends, that has significantly changed. The primary aim of the biophilic design is to bring nature and its elements back into homes and buildings.
According to professionals, our inner biorhythms can be positively influenced by changing the dynamics of shadows and pools of light in buildings during the day. This can be easily achieved by making the buildings follow and capture the movement of the sun by using windows, patterns and other architectural details.
4. Passive Building Design
The internal environment in a passive home is powered by external elements that Mother Nature has provided and thus minimizing energy consumption. Logically orienting the building on the site instead of a design that uses technology like boilers, air-conditioning and electric lighting, it includes solar radiation, air pressure variations and outdoor temperatures and wind that flows through nature as an efficient way of ventilation for minimal or no use of modern devices.
Passive homes will help restrict heat loss in the winter and reduce heat increases in the summer with the help of architectural elements like sun shading devices and wing walls. Passive design can open new possibilities to achieve low-cost construction.
5. Vernacular Architecture
Designing a building based on the native construction systems is beneficial beyond the preservation of the cultural aspect of the place. Vernacular architecture stresses on utilizing materials within reach from the site, which in turn cuts down on transportation costs and reduces the chance of shortage of materials.
This year and the upcoming ones will be a period of great innovation in construction. Since we have the need for better, more resilient and sustainable buildings and homes, it is safe to expect that this year will combine highly-adaptable designs with technological advancements. These will unlock so many new solutions when it comes to building. Two of those solutions include all-electric homes and home automation.
In an all-electric home, gas is completely replaced by electricity. This will allow us to use induction range cooktops instead of gas stoves, heat pump water heaters instead of gas ones and radiant heating and cooling instead of those gas furnaces. This can lead to major improvements in energy use since there are various ways of recycling and preserving electric energy through solar and water power.
On the other hand, home automation will help us connect to our houses more easily. The so-called Internet of Things allows us to create smart homes and connect all of our devices, allowing them to interact with each other. Smart homes have become a norm in sustainable building, and people are becoming more used to the fact that they can turn on their coffee machines or preheat their ovens while on the way home.
There is no need to hesitate when it comes to home automation. For example, innovative smart devices for home monitoring, HVAC systems, lighting, heating and even devices such as ovens, washers and refrigerators will make our lives much easier.
7. Small Scale Construction
The land shortage and high-density areas are reducing the significance of large mansions and structures. A house has come down to its basic necessity with more importance given to its functionality and open spaces. With foldable and inbuilt furniture, an entire house can fit in one room area.
8. Utilizing Native Vegetation
Utilizing the vegetation that exists within the area and designing organically with the site helps to experience the space while preserving nature at the same time. Planting trees and shrubs not native to the place just for its beauty is not a sustainable practice and requires unnecessary maintenance, and is difficult to thrive in the new environment.
9. Healthy Homes
It goes without saying that a home should be healthy, but that’s not the case if the home’s structure is toxic. As it turns out, green and eco-friendly homes are not only eco-friendly, but they also have a lot of benefits for our health. There have been a lot of studies that show that if a house or a building is green, the people who live or work in there benefit from them a lot, both mentally and physically.
In order to make your home or building greener, you should utilize natural light as much as possible, improve the indoor air quality and use eco-friendly materials. This will not only contribute to your health, but it will also raise your productivity and overall happiness levels. Thus, consider using air purifiers and low or zero VOC paints and materials in order to preserve your health. Additionally, having an excellent ventilation system will help you keep the indoor air clean and fresh, eliminating all the harmful elements from it.
10. Public Space Intuitive Design
Open space around the building rather than filling up the site with the structure is crucial in bringing sustainability to the building. Public spaces act as a breathing space while utilizing the building. Providing a wide range of parks around built areas, helps reduce the carbon footprint of the place, along with an enhanced lifestyle from the green landscape.
11. Sustainable Landscaping
Today, going green and being sustainable is not limited to the inside only. A few years back, having a perfect grass lawn was ideal, but this year, try to bring native and low-maintenance plants into your yard instead. With such drought-tolerant plants, shrubs and trees, you can save plenty of water and avoid using pesticides and fertilizers while supporting the local wildlife.
12. Prefabricated Construction
Prefabricated construction is an ingenious approach with industrial manufacturing of building elements that can fit together on-site and saves both time and money without compromising on the structural stability.
These houses are built at an off-site location. Building off-site makes the production process more efficient than building right on your lot. Modular construction is a type of prefabricated housing built on repeated modules, which has become increasingly popular in modern times.
13. Adaptive Reuse
Adaptive reuse refers to modifying an existing building as per the present requirements and remodeled with the addition of new functions. Reuse of several historic buildings is a great way to bring purpose to a building, which otherwise becomes deteriorated or left unused. It can even bring new life to the existing structure and deliver an alternate meaning without compromising on its cultural significance.
14. ZNE – Zero Net Energy Homes
Zero Net Energy home construction is a trend that is quickly taking off. A Net Zero house is one that produces as much energy as it consumes. It starts with an energy-efficient building envelope that includes high-efficiency heating and ventilation components systems to help keep the consumption of the home as low as possible, and it is then powered by renewable energy sources like rooftop solar panels.
These homes are built to very high standards, such as airtight and well-insulated structure in order to produce the most comfortable temperatures and cleaner air with reduced allergens and toxins.
15. Water Conservation Measures
Awareness of the predicted crisis in freshwater supply in many regions of the world raised heightened concern to adopt some of the following water conservation strategies in buildings:
- Using more water-conserving fixtures and low-flow toilets
- Installing low-flow showerheads
- Water-permeable surfaces and stormwater management strategies
- Rainwater catchment systems
- Graywater recovery systems
- Installing green roofs
- Planting native and adapted vegetation in place of lawns or ornamentals
Lately, people have been focused on interior design the most. Even though the interior design is important, it is even more important that the entire structure is safe, resistant and sustainable. So, with these eco-friendly construction trends of the year, you can make a big difference in the world and help preserve the environment.
Explore, research and decide what’s best for your home or any other building and renovating project, because even though you initially have to invest a bit extra, it will certainly pay off on many different levels.