At the end of 2014, the outlook for green building is brighter than ever. New extremely energy-efficient home designs are cropping up one after another, and customers are willing to pay a premium for green building techniques if it means they'll save money on energy later. According to a report by McGraw Hill Construction, 19 percent of home builders currently devote themselves completely to green construction, and that number is expected to double by 2016. Here are some of the things to watch for in green building in 2015:
- Living roofs or walls: Growing plants on the roof or walls of a home helps save energy and control water runoff. With several "living house" designs on the market, expect a wave of Chia pet-like homes cropping up in the new year.
- Passive houses: The passive method of home construction uses intense insulation and innovative airflow design to minimize the need for heating and cooling, which are the biggest energy wasters in the average American home.
- Net-zero or energy-plus houses: Similar to the passive house but different in its energy-saving strategies, the net-zero or energy-positive house (which has a net zero energy expenditure or actually produces more energy than it consumes, respectively) is constructed with renewable energy in mind, drawing its power from sources like solar panels and geothermal water heaters. With the increasing affordability of solar power for individual consumers, this type of home is likely to explode in popularity over the next year.
- Urban farming: People are beginning to reject the idea that farming is necessarily a rural pursuit, with rooftop gardens and backyard chicken coops in cities standing as a testament to this new movement. Green home builders will begin to incorporate urban farming elements into their designs in 2015.
To test your own home's energy use, contact Alban Inspections for an energy audit today.