Over the last few decades, the concept of green living has been on the rise. It first gained popularity in the subcultures of environmentalists and hippies, who were dedicated to changing the systems by which they live in order to better reflect their beliefs and values. Early adopters of green homes, for example, focused on developing their own energy sources, composting their waste, and reducing the pollution created by their environments. However, as knowledge of what green living means has begun to spread across communities, more and more families are beginning to recognize the multitude of benefits associated with this previously niche lifestyle. Today, we are witnessing a large enough shift in consumer demands that to acknowledge green living is no longer just an option for sellers and builders, but a necessity for the entire industry.
What is Green Living?
Understanding what makes a green home is essential to understanding how the concepts can be incorporated into all housing developments and to understanding why green living will soon be a standard for luxury homes. Simply put, a green home uses less energy, water, and natural resources then a typical home. It also creates less waste and ensures a healthier environment than traditional homes do for the people living in them.
Green home features can include:
- Water efficient fixtures
- Drought tolerant landscaping
- Compost sites
- Energy efficient lighting
- Energy efficient ENERGY STAR windows and kitchen appliances
- Energy efficient air conditioning and lighting
- Programmable thermostats
- Solar panels
- Eco-friendly materials
These are just a few of the features of green homes, and they all have one trend in common: They promote sustainability. As the world changes to address the problems of climate change and pandemics, so will the expectations of homebuyers, and new homes will need to reflect that. What can you expect to see more in terms of green home development in the coming years?
Green Living Post COVID
As we enter a new era defined by post-COVID living, the real estate market and development community is expected to undergo major changes. For one, more space, home offices, and larger kitchens are likely to be expected as more people transition to working from home. However, the growing prevalence of people working at home will also promote a new necessity for green living – one that is associated with a more sterile and clean home. These new highlighted features will include advanced air filtration and ventilation systems, self-cleaning systems, and indoor contamination control.
One example of how the pandemic has influenced green development would be the changes being made by a developer in Hoboken, NJ. The developer has taken the initiative to install an HVAC system that is equipped with an energy recovery ventilator (ERV), which exhausts stale air and replaces it with fresh, filtered outside air. In a typical system, the exhaust ‘risers’ would be shared by multiple units; however, with the fear of cross contamination, this new system is designed so that the ductwork is 100% dedicated to the specific units.
As we move forward, the concept of green living will be essential for not only ensuring that we continue to preserve the resources of the earth we live on, but also to promote personal health.
How Can I benefit from A Green Home?
Buying a green home, or ‘going green,’ can be viewed as costly; the upfront expenses associated with a green home can deter homebuyers. However, the long-term savings can be substantial, making the return worth the investment. A report released on energy.gov shows a snapshot on how basic green options can help homeowner save, such as saving 12% to 33% annually on heating and cooling bills just by installing exterior low-storm windows – With this in mind, think about how the bigger changes can impact your bottom line before you are turned off by the price of upgrading to green systems or purchasing a green home.
Stay Healthy and Save the Environment
First off, improving air quality can drastically improve one’s health. Green homes tend to have more sophisticated ventilation systems that reduce indoor air pollution. In fact, a cleaner home can ultimately reduce one’s medical bills due to the improved quality of air that they are living with. As many Americans adjust to spending workdays in their homes, they will likely have higher standards for the air quality they can expect.
Secondly, as most individuals know, and what gave fame to the green home, going green helps promote a healthier and more sustainable environment. A green home helps reduce the use of non-renewable energy sources (fossil fuels) and climate-changing sources of energy, makes use of renewable fuels and plentiful clean energy sources, generates less waste, reduces air and water pollution, and most importantly, reduces your carbon footprint to help slow climate change. All of these benefits are a result of the eco-friendly building materials that are used paired with innovative technologies.
Protect Your Investment
Millennials make up a huge generational group of Americans who are now in the market for homes or new homes – In fact, a report on the state of the housing market in 2020 indicated that millennials account for over 35% of homebuyers. Their demands for their first home purchase differ greatly from those of past generations in that they are no longer simply hopeful that owning a green home might be possible; rather, many of them are insisting on a green home. This is a generation that considers the impact of their daily living on generations to come, and their need for a home that does the same cannot be overlooked. Therefore, in order to protect your investment, and to keep your home as marketable as possible when the time comes to sell, it’s time to start looking into ways you can make your home greener to ensure that you do not miss out on attracting the prospective homebuyers in the large buying pool of the millennial generation.