Green New Year’s Resolutions

Start building green in 2020 in ways big and small with these New Year’s resolutions

By ZACK JOHNSTON

They say in order to keep up with your New Year’s resolution to start somewhere small and realistic. The good news for homebuilders is, if your resolution is to go green this year, there are a multitude of ways big and small to start making the changes necessary.

Whether it’s with sustainable building materials or harnessing renewable energy, when it comes to transforming modern housing and reducing fossil fuel dependence, there is no time like the present. Many different builders are ahead of the curve and already building to exceed regulation, but for builders new to the game there are plenty of ways to get started this year.

The Solar Revolution

For builders making new homes in California, the state government was kind enough to turn this first resolution into a mandate. What better way to stick to something than to make it law?

Starting this year, virtually all new housing projects must be equipped with solar power. It won’t be as much of a rocky transition as some would expect. The glistening panels have become rather ubiquitous in California’s housing industry over the years. Many builders, developers, and private owners in the state see the inherent value in solar energy, and some adopted the practice to get an edge up on the mandate.

As for homebuilders outside of the golden state, now is the time to become familiar with the technology quickly becoming the standard across the nation. More and more states and municipalities are following suit and implementing green home regulations of their own. Those who have not yet entered into solar energy can seize the moment to observe how other builders approach it, and apply what they see to their own projects.

Say Goodbye to the Pump

Homebuyers share a collective role in shaping our ever changing world of daily life. From architectural movements to interior design trends, homebuilders have been moving the culture forward by being creative and innovative.

Much like the adoption of solar powered homes, another clean energy trend sweeping the country is the push for more electric cars on the road. Drivers are enticed by the technology and the potential savings from switching to an electric vehicle. Many leaders have set ambitious goals for cutting back on emissions, and electric vehicles are sure to be a big part of the equation moving forward.

An easy strategy for homebuilders to capitalize on this is to include EV charging units in their products. As electric car models have become more attractive and practical over the years, they’ve also become more common. Charging stations pop up in parking lots in cities everywhere, a further indication that people are growing more familiar with the concept.

Homebuilders can help usher in a new automotive era by standardizing the use of on-site EV charging units. It can be a huge plus to buyers who drive an electric car, have been interested in electric vehicles, or simply want to do more for the environment. If this simple addition to a home can reduce some of the weariness toward driving an electric car, potential buyers are more likely to sign on. And as the electric vehicle shift presses on, builders who already offer a charging unit will be far ahead of the curve.

A Healthy Standard

Incorporating renewable energy and innovative home tech is one way of going about green homebuilding, but there’s so much more when it comes to sustainable living. Another phenomenon that is gaining momentum in this industry is for homes to not only use a very minimal amount of energy, but for them to be healthy environments for daily life.

Building a home requires a certain kind of care and attentiveness that is not found in other kinds of construction. Homeownership is still thought of as the cornerstone of the American dream for many people, but how can that be if we sacrifice quality for quantity? Builders and developers can achieve the highest curb appeal imaginable, but it means nothing if the indoor environment is not suitable for long-term occupation.

Fortunately, the groundwork for builders who want to focus on health and wellness in their products has already been laid out. When it comes to things like paint, carpeting, and insulation, the very best builders are careful to look at what is in these products and be sure they’re not harmful. Doing away with all the toxic chemicals that have been allowed to enter our homes throughout the years is the perfect way to show potential buyers that you not only care about environmental consequences, but also their personal wellbeing.

Air ventilation is another important quality of a healthy home that might get overlooked by some builders. Proper ventilation will help to ensure that any harmful contaminants or air particles are pulled out of the home and away from our lungs.

Zack Johnston is an Assistant Editor for Green Home Builder Magazine. He can be reached at zack@penpubinc.com.