The future of home building is coming, and increasingly that means a new era in residential construction: homes designed to combat global warming and conserve resources—or even generate energy all on their own. Rooftops covered with vegetation, homes built with solar-powered materials, and electric vehicle charging stations are just some of the brand-new features that should bedeck structures in the near future.
Those may sound like they’re straight out of the pages of the latest sci-fi bestseller, but these features aren’t just pipe dreams, they represent the cutting edge in home building—designs that are slowly being integrated into new houses today. So what green features are you likely to see in your future home? Let's find out at Home Improvement Leads, who offer solar leads to quality solar contractors.
Building integrated photovoltaics
Most energy experts agree: solar will become a much more popular energy source in the future, and homes are already being designed with that idea in mind. In that spirit, many developers have ditched retrofitted solar panels in favor of building integrated photovoltaics, a design theory wherein solar cells are contained directly within building materials. In building integrated photovoltaics, architects consider a home’s potential solar sources as they build, constructing energy harvesting centers in glass panels, skylights, and facades, rather than just on rooftops. That building philosophy is being helped by an emerging technology, namely, a new type of solar system. It’s known as organic photovoltaics, where small solar cells are distributed in glass, or as coatings around materials, rather than housed solely in bulky panels, allowing for more flexible, adaptable structures.
Electric vehicle charging stations
What good is a green home if you’re still driving a gas guzzler? There’s been a push in recent years to bulk up infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicle charging stations, and in some places, new homes are leading the charge. For instance, Quebec is considering restrictions that would require new residential construction to be built EV-ready—in other words, to come complete with 30-ampere plug-in stations contained in garages. That move is not without precedent. The city of Palo Alto, California already enacted a similar law that mandated EV charging stations. If that trend continues, you can expect more homes built to support cleaner cars.
A popular trend in new homes is the appearance of the “net-zero” house—a structure that generates as much power as it consumes. That idea is made possible due to advances in renewable energy, which allow residential systems to harvest and generate electricity, as well as efficiency upgrades in home appliances, lighting, and heating and cooling. Houses billed as net-zero are often designed not only with solar panels, but with automated lighting controls, smart thermostats, and electric vehicle charging stations, that all work together to lower resident’s overall carbon footprint. Net-zero communities are an emerging trend in home building all over the globe, from Australia to the UK to California to Japan.
Windows are some of the most vulnerable parts of our homes—drafty and outdated openings lower heating and cooling efficiency significantly by letting conditioned air escape through gaps, and allowing solar heat to enter the home through the glass. Smart glass is the latest iteration in a wave of improved window technologies. It’s temperature- and light-reactive, allowing it to sense changes in heat and sunlight electronically, and adjust tints accordingly. The trend in the window market right now is to target inefficiencies in glass, since many homes have already installed energy-saving features like double-pane windows and insulated frames. Looking even further into the future, experts predict that smart glass may even one day interact with WiFi connected devices like smartphones, serving as a makeshift projection screen for day-to-day computing—so expect big things in the future of residential windows.
We sometimes tend to view ecology and technology as opposites, but living roofs are one trend that disproves that false dichotomy. Living, or green roofs, which are partially covered by vegetation and plants, are one potential design solution that may help ease pollution and heat-island intensity in large, densely-populated urban spaces. Traditional sod roofs have been used in home building since antiquity, but this takes that idea and repackages it for city dwelling, where urban developers are hoping to maximize beneficial features that not only improve air quality, but also take advantage of passive heating and cooling from shaded rooftops to keep building energy use low, as well. Living roofs are also naturally insulating, and can even be used to grow local edibles, so one day you might not have to do much more than reach out the window to get fresh ingredients for your salad—and that’s the kind of trend we can definitely get behind!
Article and photos by Erin Vaughan of Modernize.com.
If you're thinking about buying a home with some of these nice green features, contact Jerry at 210-789-4216, let me introduce you to some local builders, who are building with many green features in their homes. Many of them have also have those energy efficient appliances that will help reduce those utility bills during the hot summer months and those cold winters. You may also visit my website at Homes For Sale in San Antonio at your convenience.
Inventory is low this summer, so now is the time to find out How Much Your Home is Worth in San Antonio and all the surrounding areas. Let's get your home on the market while more buyers are shopping for that new home before school starts again. June was a terrific month for existing home sales, and we are expecting an even stronger sales for the month of July. Check out the Market Insider Reports to see what is going on in your community and neighbor.
As more and more folks are exploring the opportunities and the advantages of green building, we are finding that these homes are holding value and selling at higher resale prices than those homes without any of these green features. Environmental sustainability is the way of the future, and more savvy buyers are concerned with products that support the pillars of sustainability.
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Jerry Newman, REALTOR®
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Military Relocation Professional
900 NE Loop 410 Suite D303
San Antonio, TX 78209
Helping and Serving the real estate needs of buyers and sellers in the Greater San Antonio, Bexar County, and all the surrounding areas.
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