low-angle view of many-windowed building

More homeowners are becoming aware of how their home construction affects their health, their energy consumption, and the environment. This has led to a trend among builders and homeowners who now use more sustainable and green construction materials and methods in new builds and renovations.

Each year, more methods and innovations come to market, making it easier to invest in green and sustainable technologies. The following five sustainable and green construction trends are poised to make the biggest impact on the market in 2020.

ICF Blocks

Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) blocks aren’t new, but growing awareness of their benefits has resulted in an increase in demand in recent years, particularly for residential construction.

ICFs make building a home fast and easy, but their insulation properties may be their most popular feature. A combination of concrete sandwiched between two layers of insulation creates a thick wall with a very tight building envelope. This results in a comfortable home that’s less expensive to heat and cool than a stick-built home. ICF homes are also quieter, with better sound absorption from the outside, as well as with healthier air quality indoors.

ICFs can be finished in any material and completed in any architectural style. So you can get all of the benefits of ICFs without sacrificing the desired appearance of your home.

LEED-Certified Prefab Home Kits

With a relatively low price point, prefab home kits are becoming more attractive to many homeowners. Because they’re factory-built according to standards, there is little to no variation in the “bones” of the house. But these kits go up quickly and come in many sizes so it’s easy to find one in your price range. And you can customize the interiors to suit your tastes.

Best of all, you can find kits that are LEED-certified right out of the gate. This means that they’re designed with things like energy and water savings in mind. A LEED-certified prefab home kit will cost less to build and to maintain over time.

According to Fixr’s study on sustainable trends, 27 percent of experts feel that green-certified homes are going to be popular in the coming months. This fact, coupled with the growing popularity of prefab homes, could push LEED-certified prefab home kits to the forefront of green construction trends.

exterior view of natural wood house
Photo by Josh Hild from Pexels

Nontoxic Building Materials

For many years, it was common to use chemicals like arsenic in pressure-treated wood and formaldehyde in plywood. These chemicals had a negative impact on the environments they were installed in and were eventually phased out of use.

But there are still materials in use that contain high levels of VOCs, which can off-gas over time, as well as pressure-treated lumber with CCA in it, which can leach into the ground. That’s why more homeowners are taking an interest in the materials used in building their homes. They’re looking for materials like nontoxic wood preservatives and soy-based glues that are healthier to live with — for their family and the environment.

In fact, when asked in Fixr’s study what green features homeowners would most want to include in their homes, indoor air quality improvement, green building materials, and environmentally friendly materials all rank high. Together, they constitute a definite interest in non-toxic materials in general.

Net-Zero Homes

A net-zero home is considered to be the most energy-efficient property of them all. They’re on-the-grid homes that are designed so tightly that they actually produce as much energy as they consume over the course of a year, so they have a net-zero energy bill.

These homes are attractive because they’re comfortable to live in with few drafts or cold spots. Through tight building envelopes, solar panels, and water conservation practices, they help shield the occupants from rising energy costs. They’re also healthy to live in with good air quality.

house with wide solar array on roof
Photo by Vivint Solar from Pexels

Solar Panels

Solar panels are seeing an enormous uptick in popularity. The cost of installing them is dropping, while the return on your investment and savings is on the rise. This, coupled with rising energy costs, makes solar panels more attractive than ever before. More than 40 percent of homeowners have said in the past year that they are seriously considering solar panels. This is because solar panels can significantly lower your energy bills over their lifetime — resulting in roughly 20 years of savings.

Pay Attention to the Trends

Trends are indicators not only of current popularity but of the next 10 to 15 years as well. As more homeowners look for ways to make their homes healthier and more efficient, the market will respond. We can expect more green construction trends, sustainable materials, and new technologies to emerge in the coming years.

Feature image by Scott Webb from Pexels

About the Author

Cristina Miguelez is a remodeling specialist at Fixr.com, a website that connects consumers with service professionals in their area and estimates the cost for remodeling projects. She writes about home improvement tips and tricks to help homeowners make better home remodeling decisions.

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