5 Trends in sustainable building for 2020

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Being eco-friendly and creating sustainable buildings is not only a practice favored by green lovers but is also becoming commonplace in the mainstream as well. As we face the very real issues associated with climate change and the cost of building and maintaining various buildings, people have started to look at ways to create living spaces that aren’t harmful to the environment and can save us money in the process.

We have taken a look at a few of the biggest trends in building design for the coming year and some of the key areas current builders are focusing on.

Green Energy

One of the biggest trends in new buildings is to make them rely less on traditional sources of energy, like coal power. Currently, there are two main ways to achieve this, one of which is to produce their own power locally, and the second is to use energy only from green sources, such as mega-solar power generating plants or wind farms.

Generating electricity at home using solar panels is not a new idea, but companies like Solar City (a subsidiary of Tesla) in the USA have helped to make this a more accessible and more cost affordable option when building a new home. There are also many new plants being constructed all around the world, especially in places where there is plenty of sunshine to maximize the amount of power generated. 

Water Conservation

With many urban areas suffering from water shortages and droughts, we have seen a clear rise in efforts to tackle the problem through better water management practices. The recent wildfires in Australia and California have helped to highlight the need for homeowners (as well as businesses) to restrict water usage and practice conservation during times of extreme drought.

Most white goods stores now have a range of very efficient washing machines and dishwashers, and these can dramatically reduce the amount of water needed to run a home.

We have also seen a dramatic swing towards conserving wastewater (gray water) that can be used to maintain our gardens and even wash our cars. Additionally, having showers instead of taking baths, turning off water faucets when brushing our teeth, and actively monitoring any excesses will all contribute towards conversing the most precious of all our natural resources. 

Better Building Design

For new buildings, we have seen architects pay more attention to designing better homes and buildings that will naturally use its position and layout to reduce how much power needed to run the household. More thought goes into window positioning, insulation, wind direction, and whether an open plan is more efficient, dependant on the size and shape of the available space.

In hot areas, architects are aiming to reduce the amount of sun that gets into the home as this will, in turn, increase the amount of time you use the air conditioning to keep things cool. In colder climates having more sunlight will lessen the need to heat the home using traditional forms of energy. Architects are now working hand in hand with engineers to enable them to construct efficient building designs that will save power, reduce the carbon footprint, and make homes that will be practical and cozy for its new homeowners. 

Energy Efficiency

Reducing the amount of power we need to run our homes has been a priority for many residents for a long time. In today’s climate, the benefits are two-fold as we not only help to reduce carbon waste, but we also have significant financial savings each year. As the cost of electricity has continued to rise, we have been getting more creative with the ways to save on power.

Low energy appliances and light bulbs are commonplace in many homes. Still, there are additional things we can do to lessen our reliance on traditional electricity sources. For example, glass manufacturers now produce efficient windows that can limit the amount of heat that the sun brings into our homes, which in turn results in less reliance on air conditioning to keep things cool.

Better insulating practices have likewise led to a reduction in the amount of heat needed to keep things warm during the colder months. Using simple timer switches that automatically turn off devices and appliances also has great benefits, as a number of these are leaching energy even when they’re on standby.  

Refurbishing Instead of Rebuilding

In the past, it was commonplace to demolish an older building to make way for new and improved ones. This trend is also changing, as today we have a greater understanding of the amount of energy needed to create a structure from scratch.

Making concrete is one of the biggest pollutants we have in the world today, so any efforts to reduce this will lead to a more eco-friendly building from the start. With the new building technologies, we have available, it is easier to design a green home utilizing the already existing building without the need to completely demolish it.

Many older structures were built strong and sturdy and often their inefficiency comes down to the inefficient windows or insulation. Plugging up all those holes with modern units will be the first step towards revitalizing the older structure with significant results.

Similarly, insulation methods of old cannot compare to the available materials of today and replacing these is the next logical step in making an older structure more eco-friendly and efficient. With careful planning and budgeting, your refurbished home can very easily become a fantastic contemporary living space that you and your loved ones can enjoy for years to come. 

Whether you’re a homeowner already or are looking to purchase a property in the near future, it is hard to ignore the fact that an energy-efficient home is one that will be beneficial to all and one worth investing in.

The eco-friendly trends and practices we’ve mentioned above are already being implemented all over the world and thanks to those that have adopted them are not only saving money, but crucially, the planet itself. Now is the time to start thinking about the future and how you too can help make it one worth looking forward to.