Modern homeowners are driving construction trends towards greener and greener approaches and materials. But the savvy homeowner knows that it’s not just to ease the conscience and be part of building a better world. One of the biggest reasons to own a home that has been built with environmentally friendly construction practices is cost savings.
Let’s examine several ways that green building practices will save you big in the long run.
WATER USAGE SAVINGS FROM ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PRACTICES
Water savings alone from green practices can run into hundreds of dollars per year. Over the lifetime of a home that translates into thousands of dollars.
To get the most bang for your buck in green practices that lead to water savings, consider the following:
ELECTRICITY SAVINGS: THE BIG MONEY SAVER IN GREEN HOMES
When it comes to the savings from a green home, it is usually electricity savings that provide the most smiles for your bank account. Electricity is often the biggest utility cost for a homeowner. Reducing it by a quarter, half or even more means upfront investments pay out big over time.
The single biggest long-term payout will come from installing solar or another low-to-no-cost electricity source. The payback time for most solar systems is between five and ten years after state and federal rebates. After that, you’ve paid off the cost of installation and any reduction in your electric bill goes straight to your pocketbook.
What’s more home values are increased and resale is usually quicker for a home that has solar installed.
Adding Energy Star appliances, LED light bulbs and smart home energy monitoring can also lead to substantial savings.
INSULATION: KEEPING THOSE HEATING AND COOLING COSTS DOWN
The right insulation is the best insulation, especially for homes in climates with more extreme winter or summer temperatures. Did you know that for a home in Western New York that is 3000 square feet savings calculations for average insulation vs high-efficiency ready insulation could translate into over $500 per year in savings?
WATER HEATING: THE SAVINGS ADD UP
The water heater you choose and the green practices you add to I can go a long way towards helping the environment and saving for that family vacation. Water heating whether by gas or electric is a common oversight from homeowners looking to drive long-term savings from efficiency.
Whether you install a heat trap, improve the insulation on your heater or even consider on-demand heating systems for your home, there is almost always a green-friendly option that will be friendlier for the environment while lowering bills.
THE DURABILITY OF A GREEN HOME
One of the most often overlooked ways that a green home will save you money is in maintenance and upkeep. Green home construction is synonymous with durability, long lifetime, and low maintenance.
It could be weather and UV resistant exterior sidings, resilient and long-life flooring, low maintenance finishes or a variety of other green-friendly construction practices. Thinking for the long-term when you select how your home was made can be one of the most earth-friendly and at the same time financially sound decisions you make.
*Green Building Saves Homeowners Big Time: The Obvious and Not-So-Obvious Savings of A Green Home (Dec. 26, 2018). Natale Builders. Retrieved from, https://www.natalebuilders.com/blog/green-building-saves-homeowners-big-time-the-obvious-and-not-so-obvious-savings-of-a-green-home
Are you planning on building your next home? Before you put the pencil to paper, take a look at the newest home building design trends to see how you can make the most of your new home.
Heated Entryway Floors
Heated Entryways Floors are one of the hottest home-building trends this year (get it?). Heated floors have been traditionally reserved for bathrooms, but are now making the transition to the rest of the house. With our tough Buffalo winters, this is one feature in your home your guests will thank you for time after time. They’ll immediately feel the warmth of your home when they take off their ice-laden boots and take their first step onto your heated floors.
The Dining Room Revival
The American dining room has lost its footing over the years to expanded kitchen eateries and admonished for its lack of use, but the formal dining room is making a strong comeback. Today’s dining rooms still have a touch of stuffiness, but it is subdued by integrating eclectic furniture and lighting to make the room feel more fun and quirky. And, yes, the rumors are true, wallpaper is back in.
Sun rooms have taken on a lot of functions recently and a move back to incorporating the room into home design is back in full swing. Traditionally, sun rooms have been treated as an escape from the high-tech living rooms with a focus on leisure. The newest trends look at using that well-lit space as a dining room and convertible patios. Most people in WNY probably consider the sun room as a waste of a room due to our harsh winters, but when properly planned, the room can be used comfortably year-round. Buyers in colder climates should keep their heating options in mind like installing a fireplace or baseboard heating.
Walk-in Universal Pantries
As the baby-boomer generation grows older, many more people are staying in their home for longer which means home designs are focused on the future. One of the top concerns in home design lately is mobility. Many people wonder if they are going to be able to reach those high shelves in their golden years or if they’ll be able to fit a wheelchair into a pantry. Features such as height-adjustable drawers and large walk-in pantries are becoming more popular with more people focusing on ease of access.
Move over great rooms, the kitchen is the place to hang. The days of isolated back-burner kitchens are over as large smart kitchens are becoming the norm. Home chefs have gone from isolated to the center of attention in newer homes. The large kitchen design brings everyone around stove and not the TV. That’s not to say televisions aren’t still an integral part of new kitchens.
While there is the big kitchen push, there has also been a counter-movement for a minimalist kitchen. Even though the minimalist kitchens tend to be a little smaller, they certainly don’t sacrifice space for community. Often separated by things like tables and islands, the minimalist kitchens create more space when needed and are easily changeable to support any occasion.
Outdoor Living Space
What started as a simple outdoor fireplace has morphed into a need for full outdoor living spaces. Families want to get the full use out of every square inch of their property and creating outdoor living spaces is how they are doing it. Homeowners are now designing their back yards with people in mind. Full kitchens and bars as well as living room sets are now found outside of the house.
Green Building Practices
Home builders are focusing more of their home design around energy efficiency and sustainability. While not all homes may be fortunate enough to take advantage of hydropower, it’s easy to reduce your carbon footprint and your monthly energy bills too.
Of course, many green building techniques circle around common-sense practices like proper insulation and ensuring there are no gaps between windows and walls letting air in. Some of the more advanced design techniques include building out renewable energy sources like solar panels and windmills and using geothermal heat.
Walk in Showers
Walk-in showers aren’t a new concept, but they’re getting a lot of attention from designers who are looking to modernize homes. Many of the walk-in showers found in new homes feature his and hers shower heads. Many of the newest designs feature either glass doors or no doors at all.
Natural lighting and massive overhead shower heads have been two of the top trends for bathroom designs in new homes over the past couple years and it doesn’t seem to be stopping. Like the kitchen, the bathroom is beginning to be examined as another place in homes to create living space.
The use of reclaimed wood as flooring and siding on homes gives your home a rustic, lived-in feel to it that is hard to replicate. Wood used from deconstructed barns and boxcars not only gives your home a great aesthetic, but helps the environment as well by not needing to purchase new lumber. In addition, reclaimed wood is often much stronger than new manufactured wood due to the length of time the trees were allowed to grow before harvesting them.
Open Floor Plans
New homeowners are making the most of their space by incorporating large, flowing floor plans into their home designs. Where once there were separate rooms for the dining room, living room and the seemingly ancient “media room,” open floor plans seemingly meld multiple rooms together bringing a greater sense of togetherness, without family members being heaped on top of one another in a cramped living room.
*The Top 10 Hottest Home Building Trends (n.d.), Natale Builders, Retrieved from, https://www.natalebuilders.com/blog/the-top-10-hottest-home-building-trends