As a continued leader in green home building trends, California was the first state in the nation to adopt a state-required green building code. CALGreen, which serves to help promote more eco-friendly building practices, addresses areas such as energy efficiency, planning and design, water efficiency, and environmental quality for new building construction in California. While the state’s expanding building codes play a role in the latest methods in renewable home construction for Northern California, many of these trends are spreading as more people become aware of their environmental impact across the globe.
We are taking a look at some of the most popular and pivotal green home building trends for 2021 below.
Zero Net Energy Homes
Its simplicity is what makes it one of the most coveted statuses of sustainable home building — to have a home that produces zero net emissions. Energy costs are rising, and that means more pressure on wallets and the global climate. Having homes designed that are more energy-efficient will only benefit society in the long run, however, it can be a tough transition. While some sustainable home construction only partially reduces emissions, others aim for a higher standard. Zero Net Energy home construction focuses on creating homes that only consume as much energy as they produce. All areas are considered, from installing high-efficiency heating and ventilation systems to adding solar panels on the roof to crafting ways to minimize energy consumption in the home with smart appliances, windows, and energy-conserving materials.
Water Conservation & Efficiency
The extreme drought conditions in California highlight how precious a resource water is, especially in wake of extreme wildfires in the last few years. The freshwater crisis will eventually affect regions throughout the country, making it an important issue to address. From Montana to British Columbia to Australia, more serious wildfires are tearing through areas throughout the globe. The response of many green home builders has been to find creative ways to make home water usage more sustainable. Reducing water consumption can be achieved through low-flow showerheads and toilets, rainwater catchment systems, and even gray water recovery systems. Other strategies include reducing landscape water usage by planting native and drought-resistant vegetation that require minimal watering.
Solar Panels, Batteries & “Off Grid” Methods
There is no surprise here — solar panels and renewable energy methods have been a mainstay of sustainable home design for many years now, especially in sunny California. As technology begins to develop and climate change makes a deeper impact on our state, it’s becoming more and more evident that solar panels are a necessity for improving green energy. Not only that, but an increase in solar batteries and full or semi-off grid energy storage has become an increasingly appealing option for homeowners that desire a more green way of living. The current power line and grid system has become a massive hazard for Northern California in recent years, sparking many wildfires, causing a two-fold issue of dangerous fires and loss of power to communities in emergency situations. Dynamic solar power systems combined with battery storage and other off grid strategies will continue to surge in popularity for renewable home designs.
More Consideration for Indoor Air Quality
Green home building trends often focus on the materials used to create a beautiful home with minimal carbon footprint — but that’s only part of the picture. The goal of green home construction is to design a home that is healthy, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly, creating a space that allows the residents to breathe deep and with peace of mind. Indoor air quality is an important component of green home building that hasn’t been given as much attention as it is due over the years. Now, more and more homeowners are concerned with creating a sustainable home coupled with technology and systems in place to improve indoor air quality. When designing a sustainable home for the environment, a contractor must also make sure it is a sustainable environment for the residents. By improving ventilation and utilizing non-toxic construction materials, it can greatly reduce the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a home, improving the air quality and quality of life.
Recycled & Sustainable Building Materials
Recycling has long been hailed as one of the most important green practices to save the planet. While simple household recycling of bottles and boxes may make an impact, having that house built with recycled and reclaimed materials can also have a great impact. Typically, even “green” home builders may utilize a significant amount of new materials, expanding the carbon footprint. That’s why more and more contractors and homeowners are opting for materials with a high recycled content, such as glass or other stone countertops, repurposed or recycled flooring and carpets, beautiful reclaimed lumber, reclaimed pavers and bricks, roof shingles made from recycled materials, recycled plastic pieces, and even drywall made from recycled components. Essentially, almost all the materials used in home construction can be substituted for more sustainable or recycled materials, making a positive impact on the environment.
Smart Technology & Appliances
As technology continues to develop, advancements in green home living continue to expand as well. Smart home technology is growing rapidly, providing more and more options for homeowners to take more control over the operations of their homes. Of key importance, smart tech can be utilized to help you manage and reduce energy consumption, from your thermostat to light bulbs and water usage. The investment in smart tech and energy-efficient appliances can greatly pay off in the long run — from reducing energy bills every month and reducing stress and strain on the environment.
Sonoma County Luxury & Sustainable Home Builders
Interested in learning more about green home building in Sonoma, Healdsburg, or elsewhere in Northern California? Annadel Builders, Inc. offers services from fine home builders who take sustainable construction and design seriously. We strive to create harmony between luxury living and environmentally friendly homes. Contact us today to start discussing your dream home.