There is now a more conscious effort towards environmental responsibility to ensure that whatever they do today will not negatively impact future generations. With a large chunk of people’s lives spent inside the home, it should be no surprise that sustainability has also affected how homes today are being designed. Home owners are becoming more mindful whether their homes are meeting sustainability standards.
Here are some examples of how sustainability created an impact towards modern home design.
Sustainable building materials
When it comes to sustainable architecture, one of the most important factors is prioritizing the use of building materials that will not further damage the planet. It’s not just about building with the best-looking materials or the cheapest option out there. The shift towards sustainability has encouraged architects to meet this need and design homes using greener materials.
The demand for materials that are durable but are still good for the environment has increased. Reclaimed wood, recycled products, and locally sourced materials are becoming more popular because they are greener options.
For example, if you use local building materials in building your home, this significantly lessens the energy and costs required to transport these products so you are already helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Another advantage is that using these materials not only reduce the carbon footprint but also benefits the home owners because sustainable materials provide a healthier and more comfortable living environment.
Integration of nature in the built environment and vice versa
Sustainable home designers take note of the environment where the structure is to be built upon and make a conscious effort to seamlessly integrate the home within the natural environment. If there are trees and plants on a piece of land, sustainable architects find creative ways to minimize damaging them.
The goal is often to retain as much of the natural landscape as possible. In areas where land is adequate, many homeowners are even choosing to build sustainable homesteads where they can be self-sufficient by planting and growing the food they eat.
Even if a home is situated in an urban environment, nature is still being integrated in homes. Rooftop gardens and mini-vegetable gardens are becoming quite popular in many cities. Another sustainable trend is the creation of living walls in homes when there is not enough space for a garden. Living walls are vertical gardens that can be purely for aesthetic purposes or they can also hold plants like herbs that can be used in cooking.
Living walls offer many advantages to home owners. First, having a living wall adds greenery inside your home. It is a visual piece that can be a conversation starter for your guests or a great background for family photos. Another advantage is that plants in your home means more oxygen and less air pollutants. This means people living in the home have healthier air to breathe.
Use of renewable energy sources
A few decades back, installing renewable energy sources is a luxury that an average home owner would not really consider. However, the increasing demand for such energy sources like solar and wind energy resulted in more producers and suppliers. This made the price of using wind and solar energy devices more competitive and affordable for consumers.
Solar energy is more commonly used in home designs compared to wind energy. This is because to produce wind energy, it is important that optimal wind conditions are present and this is not often the case especially in urban settings.
Installing solar panels is more practical and helps homeowners produce their own energy so they will not be totally dependent on the national grid. While the upfront costs may still be high, it is still considered as a worthy investment because it can significantly lower household energy bills.
With more and more people recognizing these benefits, architects are taking this feature into account by making sure that the roof designs will allow for easy installation of solar panels. This will make it easier and more practical for homeowners to install solar panels when they choose to.
For home owners who want to install solar panels while house construction is ongoing, there are now designs where the panels can be beautifully incorporated in the house design. This means they don’t look like they were just slapped on the building facade. These creative designs prevent solar panels from becoming an eyesore. Additionally, there are now solar shingles, solar tiles, and solar roofs that can be used instead of panels.
Application of energy efficient features
Partly due to the use of solar panels in many homes, modern homes are now being designed to become more energy efficient. This is achieved by adding features that can lower energy consumption. These methods range from simple swaps to major investments. Some examples of energy efficient methods present in modern homes are the following:
Design for natural lighting
Adding large windows and skylight roof panels bring in more natural light into the home. This lessens the need to turn on the light during daytime.
Use of LED for lighting
Compared to the usual incandescent light bulb, LED bulbs have a longer lifespan lasting 25 to 50 hours longer. While LED lights are still more expensive, they also consume significantly less energy which means lower energy bills.
Double or triple glazed windows
These types of windows keep ensure that warmth will not seep through outside. This will save on heating costs because homes will be warmer.
Home automation systems
A home automation system allows centralized control of all the connected electrical devices inside the house. This includes lighting, heating/cooling, internet, security, etc. Home owners have access to a control panel like a tablet wherein they can remotely control these devices.
While many people may think that smart automation systems are purely for convenience, what is amazing about this technology is that they also can also help you conserve energy. For example, most automation systems allow you to put a timer on how long a device is switched on so you are not wasting energy unnecessarily. You can also check easily which devices are turned on and you can switch them off remotely. This is also useful in controlling outdoor lighting in your home.