Lately, it seems like everyone is ready to “go green.” But what does going green really entail? How are builders making the most of the latest green initiatives to preserve our earth’s natural resources and provide cost- and environmentally-efficient materials and components in design and construction?
In part one of this article, we explored key megatrends in energy consumption and conservation that are impacting builders and buyers across the globe. In part two, we will delve deep into the remaining megatrends that are changing the future of green building. We will explore how green building trends are impacting how builders design spaces within homes, the resiliency of materials to outlast conventional materials, and how green building ultimately affects the wellness of its users.
6. Flexible Design and Spaces
Designers and building owners are pressed to integrate flexible design elements into their properties. Flexible design goes beyond renovating a lobby to look more homey and comfortable—in fact, previously static areas like stairwells are ripe for redesign. Requests are becoming more prevalent for active workspaces: standing desks or treadmill desks are a popular example of this.
In commercial building, this call for flexible design leads to flexibility in function or purpose of structures. Apartments can easily be used as office space; office space can easily transform into event space. In homebuilding, buyers are looking for designs that offer multifunctional, flexible uses, like garages that are equipped for charging electric cars and solar energy to power their homes.
7. The Value of Wellness
If “green living” is the phrase of the day, so is wellness. Why? Employers know that healthy, happy employees are good for business. Wellness is impacted by a variety of eco-friendly changes. For instance, improving indoor air quality help employees achieve their goal of good wellness and save employers money. Studies find that employees who work in a cleaner air environment are more productive across the board than employees who must work in less favorable conditions.
Experts in both the wellness and sustainability fields will soon come to realize that sustainability doesn’t have to come at the expense of wellness, and vice versa. Both initiatives can live in harmony, with questions about how much to spend on employees to meet wellness objectives being put to rest as time goes on.
8. Disaster Resiliency
Changes in weather patterns have resulted in extreme climate conditions such as years-long droughts, severe wildfires, devastating hurricanes and catastrophic rainfall. With these changes becoming more prevalent, buyers are looking to invest in properties that are resilient against a variety of extreme weather conditions.
Government agencies are cracking down on the issue by offering guidelines for infrastructure plans in order for future buildings to be truly resilient. For homebuilders, this means creating structures that meet the twin goals of sustainability and resiliency. Sustainability, when it comes to green building, aims to reduce the severity of climate events by reducing the human footprint and preserving the natural resources and environment around structures. Resiliency, in conjunction with sustainability, works to strengthen structures so they can withstand the volatility of today’s climate.
9. Smart Integration
Technology is the key to realizing the goals of green living. Modular design and adaptable buildings will be part of the solution to provide sustainable living. Smart devices enable commercial and home builders to monitor the performance of their buildings while being able to manage their energy portfolio.
With solar panels and other technologies becoming more mainstream, builders are tasked with integrating smart technologies to multiple points within their building’s infrastructure. Buildings are able to be automated, and wireless controls (via cheap smart sensors) make it simple for building managers to track energy inefficiencies and plan for energy upgrades.
10. The Human Element
Builders and buyers want to go beyond “talking the talk,” they want to show in practice that they are socially responsible and are taking sustainability, wellness, and other green initiatives seriously. Businesses are eager to align with top talent, and their building infrastructure will be designed to attract that talent. Collaborative workspaces and proximity to higher education help attract smart thinkers with top industries.
Builders will have to become more keenly aware of the different health-related materials used in construction and design. Some states are becoming stricter about health product declarations and the various “red lists” of chemicals that are concerning to health officials and public health experts. However, even though these lists are becoming more contentious as days go by, the core cause of concern is for the lives of the individuals living in our communities. Builders, therefore, must marry the health and safety of our environment but also offering protection for people living and working within these structures as well.
Green building is becoming a dominant player on the world stage. In this two-part article, we explored how energy efficiency, water conservation, emerging technologies and wellness are all working together towards the end goal of sustainability. Together with a whole-home approach, consumers on a commercial and residential stage can benefit from the cost savings of green energy as well as taking actionable steps towards helping preserve the environment. If you are looking to “Go Green” with your dream home, talk to Belman Homes today to discuss the ways you can implement Green elements into your future home.