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Sustainable Home Design Trends

Contact Us A sustainable home design with wood frames and many trees.
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With the rise in demand for sustainable home design, it’s essential to understand what it is and how you can incorporate it into your existing home or use it as a framework when building your next home. Not only does it help the environment, but it also increases the value of your property.

Let’s look at the current sustainable design trends and what they can do for you.

What is a green/sustainable home?

Before we get into the details of sustainable home design, it’s essential to define what we mean by a green home/sustainable home design.

Sustainable home design is a design whose purpose is not just to be beautiful but to have a low impact on the environment. By combining care for resident comfort and the surrounding environment, sustainable homes often use green or environmentally friendly technology and design to balance function and design.

Sustainable design has been gaining popularity in the past ten years but more so in the past 5 years now that environmental impact is a significant part of the national conversation about growth and the future.

Owners looking to build a green home or update their home to make it more sustainable want to create a comfortable, beautiful, and green space where the environment is considered when it comes to design and technology choices.

Sustainable Home Stats

If you’re not convinced that sustainable design is the right path for you, here are some stats that may change your mind:

More than 90% of real estate experts agree that interest in green home design is increasing. This means that when it comes time to sell, you’re more likely to sell (and make a profit) if your home features a sustainable design.
• Because Millennials are in their 30s and 40s now, they are a large part of the buyer side of the real estate market. 57% of Millennials say they care about sustainable and green building home design. This means their desire for more sustainable living can mean the difference between being able to sell your home or not.
• The green building market is projected to grow to $99.8 billion by 2023.
• The green building industry is on its way to decrease overall energy consumption by 50%+ by 2050.
• Sustainable design and green building increase the value of your property by 7%+ over properties that are not green or sustainable.

The outlook? Not only does green building create a better environment for residents of the home and the surrounding environment, but it also means more profits later down the road when the time comes to sell.

Sustainable Home Design Trends

There are a LOT of sustainable home design trends, and more keep coming! With the creative energy of a booming industry comes a lot of ideas for how we can change the way we build our homes. Here are just a few of the top trends now:

A prefab home with a pool as an example of sustainable home design.
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1. Prefab Homes

Prefabricated, or prefab, homes that are ready-built homes that come in pieces. The reason this is considered sustainable home design is that the pre-made nature of the home means that manufacturers and designers know the dimensions and exactly what materials are needed in order to help cut down material waste. They’re also precision engineered which can make them more durable, have shorter construction time and work well in populated areas and remote locations.

Two cargo container homes side to side in the woods.
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2. Cargotecture

An emerging trend is “cargotecture” or creating living spaces from recycled shipping containers. Containers made of aluminum or steel are actually stronger than typical materials as well as cheaper. Because they’re essentially giant Legos, their strength and durability make them an excellent building material.

Because the cargo containers are being recycled, this prevents waste in landfills and recycling centers. They’re also very versatile and can be used in home-building in many ways, from a tiny home to portions of a large, multi-story home.

An example of a tiny home with stairs and a sunny living room/home office area.
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3. Tiny Houses

By now, most of us have heard of the tiny home movement. From HGTV to the local news and national magazine, the tiny home has gained a lot of attention because more and more people are looking to reduce the amount of space they need, create a more practical home, and create something that can be moved from place to place.

Tiny homes can be mobile, more affordable than larger, more traditional homes, more energy-efficient, and just easier to keep clean! When people ditch big spaces for smaller spaces, they also consume less energy.

The LEED certification logo for sustainable home design.
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4. Green-Certified Home

Green-certified homes have invested in green technology and sustainable design from either a new build or upgrading an existing home. Several types of green certification like LEED, WELL, the Living Building Challenge, and Passivhaus set the standards here and abroad for green living. They provide tools, advice, and resources to help make sure your home lives up to the highest in sustainability standards.

A gray google nest device as an example of smart home technology.
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5. Smart homes and smart devices are typically created to help reduce waste by automating things like temperature, lighting, and even security for homes.

By using things like “smart bulbs” in your home, you can put your light on timers or have sensors that automatically know when to turn lights on and off — a big plus if you live with people who love to leave lights on! Smart Homes “Smart” things are now part of everyday conversation, from smart glass to smart refrigerators; the addition of “smart” typically means digital or automated.

A bedroom with a glass wall as an example of statement glass.
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6. Statement Glass

Something you may have noticed in modern design is the emphasis on large glass doors, bay windows, and even entire walls of glass that create an invisible barrier between the outside and the inside. With LEED-certified windows, you don’t have to worry about heat or cold escaping through the glass as they’re built for energy efficiency. Who doesn’t want a room with a view?

A lush green wall of plants to demonstrate sustainable home design.
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7. Living Walls and Roofs

The pandemic had awakened the desire for indoor green space, though the living wall trend was emerging before COVID happened. Many homes and businesses are dedicating entire walls to green plants as many indoor plants not only help clean the air in a space but have positive impacts on mental health, wellbeing, creativity, and productivity.

Green roofs are made by alternating water-retaining lakes with layers of living vegetation like moss, grass, shrubs, and even flowers. Not only are they beautiful, but they’re all energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

A reclaimed wood wall in chevron patterns with cement steps.
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8. Reclaimed and Recycled

If you follow design blogs or read the design-centric magazines, you’ll have seen the trend in reclaimed and recycled materials, especially wood. With lumber prices still high, now is a good time to work reclaimed wood into designs for things like walls, flooring, and furniture. Not only does using reclaimed wood help prevent waste through recycling, but it also gives your home a unique look that can’t be copied.

A beige house with a roof covered in solar panels.
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9. Solar Energy

More and more homes are being fitted with solar panels on their roofs to help harness the energy from the sun and decrease dependence on the traditional power grid. In many cities, homeowners can receive energy credits and rebates for installing solar panels on their homes. Not only does it give you a sustainable source of power but it lessens the load on the local power grid, which benefits the community, as well.

Two pairs of arms, legs, and feet standing on newspaper and holding on paint brushes.
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10. on-toxic Materials

This one seems like a no-brainer when it comes to green home trends. Using materials that don’t include formaldehyde (like pressed wood and particle board) and VOCs (like in paints and stains) helps keep the home’s negative environmental impact low. There are now many non-toxic building materials to choose from, like paint, flooring, and even adhesive, as sustainable design is in such growing demand.

Should You Design and Build a Sustainable Home?

All signs point to yes! Not only is sustainable home design better for you and your environment, but it also increases the resale value of your home. Whether you’re upgrading an existing structure or building a new home from the foundation up, you’ll want to do your research to see what kind of sustainable design you can incorporate into your new home. Be sure to check out the programs in your city, as well, as many provide credits and rebates for green tech and sustainable design.