Ten Green Building Trends for 2012

The Earth Advantage Institute has certified more than 12,000 green homes, so it’s safe to say they know what’s going on with green building. Towards the end of 2011, the non-profit spoke with various policymakers, builders, developers, architects, brokers, appraisers, lenders, and homeowners to understand green building trends. Here are the 10 green building trends EAI says to watch for in 2012, which we’ve paraphrased below:

1. Urban Density — the younger crowd and empty nesters want access to cultural activity, mass transit, and a more sustainable lifestyle, so expect to see more construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), laneway homes, and infill homes.

2. Green Multifamily Homes — owners and operators are increasingly interested in energy efficiency savings and the multifamily sector is in a growth stage.

3. Energy Upgrades Drive Remodels — remodelers have moved into the energy audit and residential retrofit market to help bring more remodel leads and business.

4. New Material Deployment and Testing — architects and builders want to try new materials but they also want to test them to make sure the materials will last and not subject the designer or builder to litigation. National labs and university departments are the hot beds of testing.

5. Consumer-Friendly Energy Tracking — new products such as Nest or Conserve Insight have sensors for tracking energy and help customers save energy and money without a lot of work.

6. Energy eduction for tenants — new laws that require the disclosure of energy use incentivize owners to educate tenants in order to save more energy.

7. Home Marketing Transparency — buyers have access to smart devices and all sorts of data to see through greenwashing. Only honest professionals will gain buyer confidence.

8. More Accurate Appraisals — the old appraisal model is changing. Sellers and buyers can ask for a Certified Residential Green Appraiser for help in recognizing the value in green certified homes.

9. Broader Adoption of Residential Energy Ratings — energy labeling systems — like the Energy Performance Score and Home Energy Score — are rolling out across the country. These facilitate energy use comparisons and efficiency improvements.

10. Smart-Grid Compatible High-Performance Homes — appliances are becoming “grid-aware” and potentially able to be monitored and controlled remotely. Expect to see more of this since home appliances account for a majority of electricity consumption.

See also Five Green Home Trends for 2012 from Buildipedia.

Photo credit: an ADU by Hammer & Hand.


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