"Going green" has been big news in real estate for some time now. The benefits are undeniable: less waste, more savings, and the growing appeal to an ever expanding market of environmentally conscious home buyers.
Going green isn't just about recycling your trash, turning the lights off, or the ol' brick-in-the-cistern trick. And we're also some ways past the era of simply putting a solar panel and some extra insulation on a home and calling it "green".
So, where are we in the race towards sustainability? Well 2019 is set to be great for exciting new innovations, as well as some interesting variations on older ideas.
Read on to find out more...
Green Home Construction
More and more, the drive towards greener homes is taking into consideration the entire lifespan of the home, and that starts with construction and materials.
While the focus of this post is changes that you can make going forward, one interesting development on the construction front is the rise of prefabricated homes. Building a home in a factory and then shipping the parts to be re-constructed elsewhere involves less waste, better engineering, quicker construction, and easier transportation.
Similarly, "upcycling" shipping containers has been popular for some time now, and this trend is set to continue as architects and homebuilders find ever more uses for these versatile building blocks.
But rather than upcycling or recycling, new trends in green materials are emphasizing some new (or unconventional) materials altogether. From swapping out hardwood flooring for bamboo, or bamboo for concrete, homes are becoming cheaper to build, and easier to maintain.
For example, new composite technology in window production is providing the opportunity for larger windows, with less temperature exchange. Overall the move is towards materials that are more sustainable, easier to source, longer lasting, and more energy efficient for the home.
Which brings us to the next big trend for 2019...
Day-to-day efficiency is of huge importance for those looking to go green. Not only that, but a more efficient home is also a cheaper home. You stand to make some real savings by going green.
For a start, the concern for ever bigger properties is starting to wane. Instead, more and more buyers are looking for sensible, modern condos, or homes a bit on the smaller size. As these buyers have discovered, smaller properties have a range of benefits, from larger relative yard space, to easier cleaning and maintenance, to energy efficiency.
Next on the list is the growing number of adaptive or dynamic home systems on the market. Here specifically, systems that integrate data to better regulate a home's heating and lighting are really taking off. These systems typically use information like weather, and usage patterns to manage cycles of light and heat in the home for maximum efficiency.
A new wave of these systems are moving towards integration with existing devices, like phones or tablets, allowing for remote control, using GPS information, and communication with a range of smart devices.
The smart devices, in turn, come with a range of new enhancements, including the the ability to stop drawing power when batteries are full - something which few people think off, but it really makes a difference!
A home isn't just a house - if you have a yard, then it includes your beautiful garden as well. And given the recent dry spells we've been having, more gardeners in Santa Cruz are becoming conscious of both the impact their yard is having, and how to minimize the impact on their yard. After all, no one wants a brown lawn half the year.
To begin with, installing rain barrels is becoming more popular as a way to smooth out water supply through the drier days.
Also, home owners are increasingly moving towards more drought-resistant gardens through landscaping and opting for more native plants. There are many great resources to help you grow your resource-efficient garden, so it's never been easier to get started. As an added bonus, native plants are more likely to attract some beautiful bugs and birds to your garden.
So, moving into 2019, my advice is to keep a look out for new home-integrated technologies entering the market. These may look like expensive and overly fancy contrivances at first, but the long-term savings are real and significant, as well as the reduction on your home's environmental impact.