In recent times there has been a paradigm shift in home designs with an accelerated push towards uniqueness and sustainability. With more people inhabiting cities, the growing demand for energy and a concomitant rise in greenhouse gas emissions are fueling green and modular home trends.
Sustainable, green homes using eco-friendly materials, solar power, energy-efficient layout, smart appliances, and sustainable furniture can help achieve the bold target of 100% zero carbon emissions by 2050.
5 Green Modular Home Trends
1. Green Design Materials:
Buildings account for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions while the rest comes from energy use, building processes and materials.
From pre-consumer materials such as cork waste to bamboo, a host of green design materials offer environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional hardwood floors.
Bamboo not only grows at a faster rate as compared to wood but is also extremely renewable as the plant on being used, does not die. Its ability to grow back quickly makes it an excellent choice of green material for floors.
Cork is a popular choice in interior design, and most cork floors use cork from recycled wine stoppers while containing no formaldehyde or PVC binders. Being naturally water-resistant, cork floors are ideal as wall and floor materials. Recycled rubber and reclaimed wood are the other sustainable materials used in green modular homes.
2. Energy-efficient Heating & Cooling Options
In the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions related to energy use increased by 3.4% in 2018. Adding to the problem are supercharged summers and unusually cold winters that are boosting the demand for energy. The result has been growing carbon footprint in homes and other buildings. Boilers, water heaters, and furnaces used for heating are the most abundant fossil fuel, guzzlers.
Eco-friendly modular homes use less energy as compared to conventional houses. One of the smart ways a modular home reduces energy use is by minimizing the energy needed for cooling and heating the home.
Green homes achieve this with effective use of insulation or cladding and air sealing of cracks, holes, and gaps that lead to heat loss. Modular homes use recycled materials for cladding that are eco-friendly such as recycled paper, sustainably harvested or reclaimed wood or Lapitec that is a material devoid of petroleum derivatives and resins.
Triple glazed windows feature three glass layers with a Low-E or low-emissivity film in-between them. These windows optimize insulation in colder climates. The Low-E coating consists of an ultra-thin layer of metallic oxide curbs radiative heat flow.
Smart thermostats use machine learning for efficient use of energy-related to cooling and heating and are one of the key features of a modular home.
3. Smart Lighting Options
A key trend in green modular homes is the use of LED lighting, which consumes 85% less energy as compared to traditional halogen or incandescent lighting. Modular home designers also seek to take maximum advantage of natural sunlight by focusing on the home’s orientation and placement of large windows to let in sunlight which can further reduce energy consumption in winters.
4. Recycled Materials
A key highlight of modular homes is the use of recycled materials. A range of reclaimed, reused and recycled products are available that can help design a sustainable, green home. These include:
- Recycled glass or acrylic countertops
- Recycled plastic
- Reclaimed wood
- Reclaimed stones, bricks or pavers
- Recycled biomaterials such as hemp, wheat, and sorghum
4. Solar Power
Green homes use renewable energy sources such as solar panels. Modern home designs incorporate sleeker solar panels that complement the home style along with sustainable roofing materials.
Choosing a clean energy source such as solar panels reduces as much carbon emission as would arise as a result of burning 5,000 pounds of fossil fuel every year.
5. Sustainable Outdoor Furniture
The accent in modular home design is on including sustainable outdoor furniture made of natural materials. The focus is on using woods such as teak, northern white cedar, western red cedar, and others produced in sustainably managed forests. Bamboo, rattan, organic cotton, hemp, and recycled polyresin and plastics are popular sustainable outdoor furniture materials.
HDPE or high-density polyethylene is a material made using upcycled plastic waste and is non-porous and waterproof, which makes the furniture durable and environmentally friendly. There are other innovative sources of sustainable outdoor furniture such consumer materials including laundry detergent milk jugs, water bottles, and laundry detergent bottles.
About the Author: This article is written by Luci, a part-time writer for Westbuilt and full-time mother to an energetic toddler. She has written for a wide range of publications surrounding corporate social responsibility and environmental issues.