Interest in eco-friendly homes has grown rapidly in recent years at the public recognizes the impact of climate change and the critical importance of protecting the environment. As new materials, products, and techniques enter the market, trends in green and sustainable home design change as well.
To look into what is trending among homeowners, Fixr.com surveyed 48 experts in the home remodeling and construction industry. The survey results provide insight into popular green home features that can help make your home more sustainable.
Sustainable and green home features aren’t exactly new. But in the last year as they stayed home and reconsidered their values, more homeowners have become aware of and open to including green tech in their homes. When asked, the experts generally agreed that the main reason more homeowners want sustainable features in their homes is to respond to climate change, followed by a desire to help protect the environment.
When it comes to home construction and design 94% of the respondents said that people are either somewhat or very likely to incorporate green materials and sustainable practices into their own homes.
Demographically, it’s the Millennials born between 1981 and 1996 who are most interested in sustainable design. Many Millennials are just getting their first opportunity to buy a home after the long recessionary period in which they grew up.
According to the survey, 57% of the remodeling experts indicated that Millennials make the most requests for sustainable features in their own homes. Another 41% felt that Gen X (born 1965-1980) was also interested in green design and sustainability. None of the surveyed experts felt that Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) were interested in these areas.
The findings support the long-held belief that younger generations are more concerned with the environment than older generations. So it follows that Millennials, followed by Gen X, are the age group most likely to pursue sustainable home design. The survey did not address the concerns of Generation Z, the latest cadre of children born between 1996 and 2015, who have not entered the home ownership phase of their lives.
Each year, the Fixr survey looks at which materials, products, and methods used in green home design are most popular. Five answers stood out in this year’s green home trends.
Homeowners this year are focused on the use of products and construction materials that make use of post-consumer recycled content. Popular materials include recycled glass countertops, recycled flooring and carpets, and reclaimed wood flooring and lumber. These materials can be used throughout the home. They can be installed on their own or as part of a larger project.
Costs start around $900 to $1,000 for recycled carpet installed, while recycled glass countertops can cost $3,600 to $5,400 on average. The cost of reclaimed wood can vary widely based on the condition of the wood and how it will be used; they range from $500 to $25,000.
Another building material that is getting a lot of attention today is bamboo. This fast-growing grass is incredibly sustainable, making it a good choice for many types of projects. Bamboo can replace traditional lumber in construction or used in flooring. In light of the soaring cost of lumber and the difficulty finding sustainably forested lumber, bamboo is a viable alternative for many people.
Bamboo flooring can cost $4.50 to $6.50 per square foot from the supplier or $8 to $12 installed, which is comparable to many other popular flooring materials.
Smart tech is a growing field in its own right. But many of the features in a smart home can be used to help you reduce energy consumption in your home. Devices like smart thermostats and smart light bulbs and switches can help you monitor and reduce your energy and water usage, even when you aren’t at home.
While these items can be costly upfront, with thermostat installation starting at around $300, they can save you considerable money on your energy bills each month. This makes them a popular investment for many people.
Solar panels continue to increase in popularity each year, according to Fixr. As they become more common and the cost continues to drop, the capability of the panels and their batteries continues to grow. Combined with various rebates and incentives, solar panels may be more affordable now than ever before and can pay for themselves over the long run.
If you decide that solar power is right for you, it’s not necessary to go all-in at once. You might install a few solar panels to help decrease your dependence on the grid or install enough to help you go off-grid entirely. Costs to add solar power a home average around $18,000 for a 6-kilowatt system.
Energy Star certified appliances are another popular option with homeowners. Appliances bearing the Energy Star label from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency meet strict energy efficiency criteria . This takes a lot of guesswork out of shopping for a new energy-efficient appliance. Energy Star-certified appliances are available for most rooms in the home, so it’s possible to reduce your energy consumption just by switching.
The price of Energy Star appliances can vary quite a bit depending on the features you choose. Energy Star dishwashers start at around $400 and the price for washers and dryers starts at around $700 each. To get the most efficient appliances, you may have to spend more.
As the interest in green living continues to rise, so will the interest in sustainable home design. While the trends can change as new materials and techniques are introduced, one thing remains certain. As more people understand the benefits of sustainable design, technology, and materials, more people will adopt them. Industry professionals are often on the cutting edge of these trends, so following up on what’s available in your area may be as simple as reaching out.
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.