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As a planet, we have never been more aware and conscious of the damage we have caused and continue to cause. A keyword now is ‘sustainability’, from minor actions such as brushing your teeth to enormous constructions – how can we make them sustainable? This theory also applies to home construction.
Over the past few years, green and eco-friendly homes have started to emerge and take over. Whilst there is no denying the housing crisis that the United Kingdom finds itself in, credit can be awarded when it comes to the conscious effort made by developers to incorporate eco-friendly features into new builds.
As we continue to grow and improve our sustainability as an industry, we look to the sustainable housing trends that are beginning to prove too significant to ignore:
When the idea of solar panels first came to prominence, there was a stigma attached to them. The idea that they were only for rich people with holiday homes in Marbella and they wouldn’t even work beneath the often gloomy British sky. Fortunately, in recent years this stigma has been squashed with new affordable housing builds already incorporating the solar energy features and explaining that they are effective in all climates. The power-saving devices also allow you to save money on energy bills and of course, mean less energy waste is generated.
Now you would be forgiven for missing how this can be a sustainable housing trend, but it’s all about perspective. Individuals that move to urban/city locations have more commuting options. They can walk, ride a bike or use public transport to get around, reducing their carbon emissions enormously. Typically, urban dwellings are smaller than suburban or rural apartments and flats. This slightly reduced space once again reduced the amount of energy required and waste produced. As more and more people find themselves waiting until later in life to buy their first house, there is a very real possibility that more people will be living in smaller city accommodation in the future.
There is often a false perception that making houses sustainable incorporates a huge initial cost. There are simple fixes for small features that could make a significant difference. Replacing lights with LED bulbs or reducing the amount of time that you use the air conditioning. Smart home features make it easier than ever before to control these variables. Using a smart thermostat that turns off your air conditioning when you aren’t home or smart home app where you can ensure that all lights in the house are turned off when you aren’t there. More and more technological features are being produced to make housing features as sustainable as possible.
Now, this sustainable housing trend is less common than the others and you could be forgiven for having never heard of it. Essentially net-zero homes are designed and built to create the same amount of renewable energy as they consume, therefore achieving a zero-energy status. These homes have already proved popular in places such as California. So much so, the state is mandating all new residential buildings to be net-zero by 2020. So far net-zero homes are sparse in the UK, however, the principle and design has all of the assets to push through and become a pioneer in the British housing market in coming years.
When it comes to housing, nothing is more overlooked than water consumption. Water is so disposable that it is often overlooked and neglected, however, in coming years it is expected that homes will be fitted with complete water filtration systems. Not only will this have health benefits, but it will inhibit mass waste and increase the overall sustainability of homes in the UK.
Sustainable housing isn’t just a buzz word that developers are using in 2019. It’s part of a greater scheme. Housing is just one sector that needs to improve, there is still so much to be done to clean up our environment and maintain it for future generations.