Sustainability is a grassroots movement that calls to decrease our negative environmental impact. Consumers both practice and seek sustainability in many different ways, ranging from electric vehicles to eco-conscious food and product packaging. There are many ways to reduce dependency on non-renewable resources, decrease carbon emissions and pollution. Sustainable homes are a viable option. So, what are the major sustainable home construction technology trends for Calgary custom home builders in 2021?
Building for Net Zero Compliance
For home building across North America, building for the future is a present-day priority. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has established a goal that all new buildings in the U.S. will be built to a net-zero-energy standard by 2030. With less than a decade to go, zero energy-ready homes in the U.S. and Canada increased by 100%. With numbers like this, it can be optimistically predicted that this target will be reached. Traditional buildings are responsible for consuming upwards of 40% fossil fuel energy. Net-zero energy buildings are vitally important because they reduce the annual number of carbon emissions released into the environment, protecting the earth’s atmosphere from further damage.
Using More Water-Conserving Fixtures and Low-Flow Toilets
An eco-friendly plumbing fixture to consider is a low-flow toilet. This is a great way to help reduce water waste for Calgary's inner city builders. It is known that traditional toilets use a lot of water per flush. Low-flow toilets use a larger water surface area and enhance aeration to water to decrease the overall amount used per flush. Older style toiles are known to use 2-5 gallons of water per flush. The process in water-conserving low-flow toilets can get the job done at a fraction of the water use, clocking at about 1-1.5 gallons of water per flush.
Installing Green Roofs
Green roofs help reduce the urban heat island effect, where urban environments absorb and trap heat. These types of roods help to use less energy for cooling or heating, leading to significant cost savings. Calgary infill home builders have found that shading the outer surface of the building envelope has been shown to be more effective than internal insulation. Green roofs cover the waterproofing membrane, protecting it from UV rays and extreme daily temperature fluctuations. This protection extends the lifespan of the waterproofing twice as long as conventional roofing, meaning that membranes under green roofs last twice as long as those on traditional roofs.
Plants on green roofs remove air particles, produce oxygen, and provide shade. During heavy or continuous rain, runoff can overwhelm stormwater infrastructure and potentially damage waterways and fish habitat; green roofs help to avoid this. Ground-nesting birds, such as Killdeer, use green roofs for nesting and raising their young; helping to counter the effects city building has on natural habitats.
Increase in PV Solar Panels on Homes
Although there’s no direct link to solar panels increasing resale values, it is clear that installing a solar PV system will improve your home’s appeal. PV systems require no water to make electricity, unlike coal, nuclear, and other forms of power. Solar panels also help to generate electricity with no air or carbon pollution, greatly reducing your environmental footprint. Solar PV panels are at their most efficient in cooler temperatures. When the outdoor temperature begins to head over 25°C, the output of the system can drop by 0.5% for each degree. As solar thermal panels are designed to capture this heat, they act as a cooling circuit which increases the efficiency of the renewable electricity generation
Garage Suites, Laneway Homes, and Urban Infill Building
Urban infill construction slows urban expansion and protects green spaces while giving a facelift to older neighborhoods. Residents of established older neighborhoods are often reluctant to see changes to their communities, especially those that increase in traffic. We say that change can be a good thing. Making use of existing infrastructure in home building allows custom home builders to build homes with positive eco-footprints.
A common sight is to see an older, small square footage home being removed, and a duplex being built in its place by a Calgary custom home builder. This use utilization of space allows for more residents on one lot, decreasing the overall environmental impact of building individual single-family homes for all these residents on different lots. Also, to be considered, higher density homes allow for more locals to shop within their community; bringing financial advantages to small businesses nearby. Coach and laneway homes also help to also utilize lot space to help increase sustainability practices. Try to remember that every residence built inside a city’s limits means one less home expanding the city limits and natural habitats.
Incorporating Green Spaces into Home Living
For those living in cities, how can they satisfy the drive for greenery in a way that’s beneficial for both ourselves and the environment? Covid-19 has awakened the desire to have a small terrace or garden for many individuals. The trend for house plants and a renewed pull towards other forms of greenery in the home, such as living walls and planters filled with fruit and vegetables is a step in the right direction. Taking the time to plant or build a greenery gives individuals stress relief benefits while also receiving health benefits. Plants create healthier air quality, and gardens allow individuals to eat nutritious home cooked meals prepared with vegetables they’ve grown themselves.
Home construction trends are changing constantly. Over the years, these trends have taken on a sustainability focus which makes the future of housing very exciting! With enhanced technology and better building materials, the construction of new homes is now becoming a more environmentally conscious process.
If you are considering building a sustainable garage suite, laneway or urban infill home contact Sunset Homes today.
Too Long Didn’t Read (TLDR)
Calgary custom home builders are focussing on sustainability in 2021. The utilization of water-conserving appliances, green roofs, and homes that optimize lot space are all factors that are trending this year. It is exciting to see the strong push for environmentally friendly construction!