Watch Out For These Top 10 Green Building Trends

Earth Advantage Institute, a leading nonprofit green building resource, has released its selections for the “Top Ten Green Building Trends to Watch in 2010.” The release provides an optimistic forecast for the green building industry in the coming year, with trends ranging from energy labeling for homes and office buildings to eco-districts.

“While we know the building industry had a rough year in 2009, not all of the industry has been in the doldrums,” said Sean Penrith, executive director of Earth Advantage Institute. “Green building has been a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster year, and Northwest design and building communities have been at the forefront.”

Two-and-a-half billion people lack access to improved sanitation, including 1.2 billion people who have no facilities at all.Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

Because indoor and outdoor residential water use accounts for more than half of the publicly supplied water in the U.S., the EPA finalized the WaterSense specification for new homes in December 2009, which reduces water use by about 20 percent less water compared to a conventional new home. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

Three of the top predicted emerging trends for 2010  include:

1. The smart grid and connected home – We all know making the upgrade at home can make all the difference on your monthly energy bill. But the newest innovation takes it one step further: custom and Web-based display panels that show real-time home energy usage. This is broken down by individual appliances, making monitoring your impact all the more easy.

2. Energy labeling for homes and offices – You may be familiar with the LEED certification for green buildings, but now there is an accurate energy rating for both homes and offices. Similar to a miles-per-gallon sticker on your car, this label will make for building-to-building comparison and will be available to the public via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

3. Eco-districts – We really dig this one. Similar to the concept of eco-villages (but on a less-intense scale), eco-districts are greener communities where residents are within walking or biking distance of most services and supplies, creating a lower impact, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood in a suburban setting.

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