Green homebuilding is no longer a fad, it is becoming more and more main stream every day. Here are some of the hot simple trends to incorporate into home design.

Affordable green homes: No longer is “green” synonymous with “elite.” As green features become more in demand and more commonplace, builders and designers are starting to incorporate them even into moderately priced homes. Expect this trend to continue in 2015 and beyond. Look out especially for growth in the number of modular, pre-designed green and energy efficient homes, as well as green energy retrofits of existing homes. The future of green homes

The numbers are in, and green homes continue to enjoy phenomenal growth. According to McGraw-Hill’s recent report, Green Multifamily & Single Family Homes: Growth in a Recovering Market, 73 percent of single-family builders and 68 percent of multifamily builders report that consumers are willing to pay more for green homes. It’s no wonder, since green features offer layers of benefits to the homebuyer, including lower utility costs, increased resale value and healthier living. How will this increased interest in green design affect the housing stock? Let’s take a look at some of the top sustainable home building trends to look out for in 2015.

Net Zero Energy Homes: So far in 2014, we are seeing major interest in energy efficiency, along with continued strong growth in solar and other residential renewable energy installations. Taking these trends to their logical conclusion, it’s no wonder we’re seeing a burgeoning interest in net zero energy homes. Dozens of net zero homes have cropped up across the country in recent years, proving their feasibility and affordability.

Passive home construction: While many net zero homes rely heavily on solar panels and other renewable energy sources to offset a home’s energy use, the goal of the passive home is to utilize materials and design to minimize the need for auxiliary heating and cooling. Super-insulated and super airtight, passive homes utilize high thermal mass elements and strategically placed windows and shading to regulate building temperature with minimal reliance on traditional heating and cooling equipment.

Genuine, certifiable Passive Houses are all the rage in Europe, but it may be a few years before we start seeing them in any great numbers in North America. Still, interest in the concept is growing and as architects and builders become more familiar with it, we can expect to see passive house elements increasingly cropping up in new green building designs in 2015 and beyond.

Sustainable Materials: 1.Natural materials. Already trendy. Especially when they are locally sourced. Materials such as stone, wool and local lumber demand a premium from those who can afford them. 2. Non-toxic materials. Think zero-VOC paints and finishes, natural fiber insulation, and low-VOC carpeting. 3. Living roofs and walls. Green roofs are becoming increasingly popular as a green home feature. Besides conveying energy efficiency benefits and helping regulate surface water runoff, they protect a home’s interior from electromagnetic radiation. Green walls improve a home’s aesthetics and can help moderate temperature around a building. 4. Urban farming. In response to the swelling demand for fresh, local food, expect to see integrated gardening projects becoming commonplace.

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