Understanding sustainable construction is a lot like understanding technology. Not only is it always constantly progressing, changing, and evolving, but it's dependent on adapting fundamental principles to different elements in the building. Keeping up with the trends can help home buyers understand the types of things they should be looking for when they're hoping to cut down on their carbon footprint. While zero-waste homes are still rare, the following developments are strong signs that it's only a matter of time before every residence puts more emphasis on sustainability.
Energy-Efficient Window Installations
Forget trying to decide between double-pane and single-pane windows—there's a potential new player on the market for homeowners who want to conserve energy. While still in development, smart glass integrates WiFi and electricity into its design for even better results than that of the popular low-e glass. This new technology can sense how many people are in a room, what the weather is like outside, and how much sunlight is currently drifting in. The sensors record the information so these smart automated windows can immediately change the tint without the homeowner having to close the blinds or open up the shades. Estimates vary depending on the expert, but it's expected that homeowners can save anywhere from a fifth to a quarter of their HVAC bills.
Green Roofing Materials
It may only be a balmy 90° outside the home, but dark shingles on a roof can turn the ambient air outside from 90° F into a scorching 150° F. And it won't take long before all that air around the roof seeps inside and makes the home's residents completely miserable. But a cool roof makes it possible to reflect the worst of the heat (up to 50°) during the most unforgiving of summer months. These roofs are expected to be in heavy demand in cities or dense suburbs before very long. Heat might be known to rise according to the laws of thermodynamics, but it has a tendency to form the heat island effect in major cities. Smog layers can trap the heat on a roof inside a bubble, which can make cool roofs a necessity to keep homeowners as comfortable as possible without raising their energy bills or endangering the environment.
Efficient Heating and Cooling
Homeowners have the benefit of the heat above them in the form of the sun, but they may not know they have heat below them in the form of geothermal energy. The surface ground can be easily frozen during a blizzard, but homeowners don't have to dig too far before they get to a stable 60° F core. Geothermal heating allows builders to install pipes into the ground to either warm or cool a home as needed. These pipes get a little help from water and antifreeze, so they can distribute energy from the core of the Earth to the different parts of the home. Homeowners will need to use some electricity in order to move the liquids, but the energy and sustainability benefits far outweigh the amount of power used.
Sustainable Construction Materials
There have been incredible new developments when it comes to how building materials are made. Spurred by everything from environmental concerns to public health crises, homeowners have more choices than ever to choose structures that adhere to sustainable principles. Paint can now be made with the help of limes and milk, floor panels can be made with wine corks, and wood can be made from old newspapers. Insulation can now be made from the cotton of old jeans, which can not only make a home more sustainable but also safer for everyone inside.
General Trends in Sustainable Construction
Certain advancements may actually seem like steps backward for humankind, but homeowners only have to look a little further to see the truth when building sustainable new-construction homes. For example, bricks made from rammed Earth (clay, soil, etc.) are similar to those used of our more ancient ancestors. And yet, when combined with smart water run-off systems, they have the power to be far more reliable and safe for us than for those who came before us. From solar panels to washing machines, practically every reputable company is experimenting with technology that will appeal to construction companies and homeowners who want to preserve the environment.
No matter what type of home you want to buy, it's worth knowing the possibilities before making the final decision. A Cadence home buyer who wants to do their part for the Earth may not find all of these options available in their area, but they can at least use this list to make a more informed choice.
Debbie Drummond is a Full Time Realtor with over ten years experience in the Las Vegas Real Estate Market. She and her team of Real Estate Pros offer the highest level of service. If you’re buying or selling a Las Vegas home, call (702)354-6900 or email Debbie@LVHomePro.com. They’ll be happy to assist you in your move.