3 ways to make home designs more sustainable

Eco-conscious clients may be interested in these simple design ideas
Reclaimed wood is a popular trend among homebuyers. (Photo: Francesca Tosolini, Unsplash)

Home developers and architects know that there are always trends encouraging homeowners to sway one way or another on features. They may prefer sunrooms one year and want skylights the next, depending on what they see in architectural magazines and online pictures.

[Related: To sell green homes, builders become storytellers: Rocky Mountain Green]

Building a green home is one of the trends that’s stuck around over the last few years. Homeowners want to save money and reduce their carbon footprint, which they can do in lasting ways by focusing on how they build their houses.

Here are three ideas for home design features that serve buyers interested in sustainability. 

Use reclaimed wood and materials. Buyers love the look and appeal of hardwood floors, but they strip the earth of natural resources that take decades to grow back. Instead of opting for fresh wood or materials when installing floors, talk with clients about using reclaimed wood instead.

Reclaimed wood comes from empty buildings that contractors strip for parts. The floors are polished and refinished so they look brand new, but they don’t require the sacrifice of any additional trees.

Choose newest HVAC systems. Homeowners also want to reduce their energy bills because it’s an unsustainable resource that they use every day. Older HVAC units may be less efficient than newer products.

Choose from the newest HVAC systems during a project and look for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for each one. It’s the measurement that determines how much electricity an HVAC system needs to cool a home. SEER estimates of 15 will reduce energy usage by 30% or more if the homeowner is willing to invest in a more costly unit with a higher SEER.

Add garage door windows. The garage is another area of the home that could be more sustainable. Homeowners can save on their energy bills by installing garage door window inserts. The natural light prevents them from turning on interior lights and using more energy. Upgrading the garage door will also add value to their home in case the owners want to move in the future, which is an extra benefit to going green.

[Related: Defensive design for resilient landscapes]

Most clients who want to build their dream home will tell you what they want, but that doesn’t mean they know all their options. Talk with each client about these sustainable home design trends to they can get the eco-friendly house they have in mind.


2 thoughts on “3 ways to make home designs more sustainable

  • May 30, 2020 at 11:31 am

    Home safety is vital. The net cost of one fall (over $30,000) can negate all the eco-conscious efforts. Remove the throw rug, a tripping hazard. Lower the TV to a comfortable height of about 12″ CL above the viewer’s eye level. Change the exterior door to a no-threshold model with a lever handle with an end return. Only a complete approach to home design is truly sustainable.

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