Eco-Friendly Smart Homes Are Good For The Environment

Each single day, individuals from all walks of life begin enjoying the various benefits a wise home provides. Money savings and convenience the list, however, clever house owners may also feel good their house makes Mother Earth grin.

If you have always wondered what makes a wise house"smart" and the way the intelligent house supports an environmentally aware lifestyle you have come to the ideal location.

Green Builder Innovation of the Year Awards 2021: Follow the Sun

This year’s greenest ideas bring us closer to harnessing the true potential of solar energy.

Samantha Carlin is co-author of this article.

It’s time again to honor an elite group of manufacturers and products that are making real progress in reducing the impact of construction upon our natural environment. They range from super-efficient solar energy management and heating equipment, to one-of-a-kind recycling projects and an indoor greenhouse. 

Products like these—along with help from a new, forward-thinking administration — will continue to steer us toward more sustainable lifestyles. 

Here’s a look at this year’s winners.

Housing Transformation is Here!

The housing sector is undergoing massive disruption, expedited by changing consumer demand, exacerbated by the climate emergency, and facilitated by advancements in enabling technologies. How can building professionals, manufacturers, and homeowners prepare themselves for the paradigm shift?

Changes are afoot in the housing sector. Shifts in consumer expectations are placing new demands on building professionals and manufacturers, accelerating the transition to next-generation solutions. 

Green Building Products

According to COGNITION Smart Data, building professionals are as optimistic as ever about advances in and access to green building products.

A recent COGNITION Smart Data survey of progressive U.S. builders reveals that these professionals are pleased with the accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and performance of sustainable products.

Broken Record Still Skipping

Lumber prices are high. Shouldn’t that spark innovation instead of hand-wringing?

Those of us who have been around long enough to remember the gasoline prices at the pump prior to the Arab oil embargo of the early 1970s may also recall that while there were many folks at the time who wrung their hands and sang sad tunes in response to the rude new reality, there were also many who searched for ways to offset the increased costs by coming up with alternatives to the gas guzzlers we had all become addicted to when we believed that petroleum products would be forever cheap.

A Sustained Housing Surge

The housing market is proving to be a bright spot in the economy—at least for now. Housing sales are strong, inventory is limited, prices are stable, and mortgage rates remain low.

Somehow, while businesses large and small have perished in this COVID-19 crazy world, the home sales and construction industries have managed to survive. But how much longer before they also have to pay the piper?

Above and Beyond Solar Standards

JinkoSolar’s panels help to push the boundaries of sustainable living.

When it comes to living sustainably, one of the biggest concerns is how to generate electricity and which energy sources or systems to use. Solar power continues to increase in popularity because it is simple to understand, can be installed in most locations, and often can pay for itself in a matter of years. 

Carrier Goes Direct to Consumers

HVAC company now sells indoor air quality products directly to consumers on its new website.

Carrier has decided to take its indoor air quality products directly to consumers with the launch of its new e-commerce website, The highlight of the new site is a new plug-and-use room air purifier that has a high-efficiency filter that can trap more than 99 percent of airborne particles down to 0.3 micron size in diameter, including pollen, dander, and dust.

Zero Energy Units: 30,000 On the Boards

TEAM ZERO inventory of net zero units shows the growth of net-zero units and the momentum of the all-electric home.

The recently released TEAM ZERO 2019-2020 Zero Energy Residential Buildings Inventory shows the growth of the residential Zero Energy (ZE) market. Of note, overall energy performance and multifamily units show significant increases. 

Redefining Home Insulation for Consumers and the Planet

Greenfiber brings what’s behind the walls to the forefront of sustainable living.

When Tiana and Shannon Harris bought their dated home in Austin, they knew they had to address energy performance issues. “The utility bills were high. The HVAC was old. And, honestly, we didn’t really know where to start,” says Tiana.

Clean Air: A Must-Have for Today’s Home Buyers

COVID has highlighted the importance of good indoor air quality, which is now a non-negotiable for today’s home buyers. Fortunately, thanks to advanced technologies and building science knowledge, clean air is a luxury that we can all afford.

Consumer interest in indoor air quality (IAQ) hit a new high in 2020. According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s market intelligence division, 92 percent of early adopter and first mover homeowners believe that good IAQ is extremely important or very important, and 85 percent would pay more for healthy home. 

A Ranch for the Ages

The choice of residential metal roofing and other super-durable materials raises the bar on this ultra-modern Texas home.

As many architects can attest, designing a residence for oneself can present challenges. But architect Jack Carson rose to the occasion by creating a striking design for his new home on a ranch in beautiful Hill Country, in Central Texas. Design for the 7,000-square-foot residence follows Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles and blends a unique palette of “industrial” materials with ultra-modern aesthetics.

San Francisco Bids Goodbye to Natural Gas

The city’s ban will require electric appliances in all new construction as of 2021.

Study: Baby Boomers Most Likely to Act on Climate Change

Stand aside, millennials—when it comes to real change, baby boomers tend to take more real steps than younger generations.

People born between 1984 and 2002 — the millennials — have earned the nickname “generation green” for their pro-environmental stance and their occasional digs at the older generations that failed to keep Climate Change in check. But according to a survey by research firm Opinium Research, Baby Boomers are the ones who are most likely to promote and support sustainability.

Kitchen Design Trends

As homeowners spend more time at home, kitchen remodels are on the rise. The average expenditure on a kitchen remodel was 2.5 times in 2020 compared to 2019.  What are homeowners investing in?  

In a recent Green Builder Media survey, we asked homeowners how their behavior has changed due to the coronavirus. The number one response? They’re cooking more.   

A Not-So-Instantaneous Solar Tech

Before a plan to help control global warming can work, people need to reduce air pollution.

Solar geoengineering, a method of cooling Earth’s atmosphere and reducing the impact of climate change, holds great promise but will only succeed if carbon emissions are kept under control, according to researchers at the California Institute of Technology and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Companies Release Corporate Sustainability Stories In Droves

An increasing number of building manufacturers are getting the word out about their commitment to the environment as they learn it really matters—especially to millennials.

More publicly traded corporations are taking action to improve the environment. They also want people to know about it. According to a study by the Governance & Accountability Institute (G&A), 65 percent of the companies included in the Russell 1000 published sustainability reports in 2019, up from 60 percent in 2018. The finding marked the eighth straight year of increase, the institute notes.

Remote Working Paradigm Shift

Remote working is no longer a trend precipitated by a pandemic, it’s now a long-term strategy that many businesses are using to cut costs and attract workers.     

For the past year, the housing sector has been the bright spot of the economy, and many companies in the industry—manufacturers, building professionals, and service providers alike—are investing in growth and hiring new employees.

ICC’s Response to Congress, Including Secretive NAHB MOU

Read the ICC’s response to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which includes an MOU that may give builders disproportionate control over code development.

The IECC is an important element of national energy policy and a major tool in the nation’s efforts to address climate change. These building codes are incorporated into the laws or regulations of many state and local governments as well as into many federal policies. Because of this, Congress wants to make sure the code process addresses everyone. In the letter, the committee wrote: 

Free Webinar: Make Money with a Zero Carbon Home!

Get practical advice on how to save money and cut your carbon footprint while realizing a 15 percent ROI with key high-performance building products. (Plus, get the book it’s based on for free!)

Don’t miss David Green in his new webinar on February 17 at 2 pm EST, based on information from his highly acclaimed book Zero Carbon Home and brought to you by Green Builder Media.

13th Annual Green Home of the Year Awards

Green Builder's January-February 2021 Issue is now available on line.  Click here to view and see further options for viewing and downloading

Despite the carnage of 2020, the best in the business did not abandon their vision and craft.

The ongoing pandemic, horrific as it has been, has largely spared the U.S. building industry. For that, we should be grateful but never cocky.

Spending more time than ever at home, it turns out, brings out the nesting instinct in people. Money that might previously have been spent on travel, tourism, or dining out has, for the fortunate, been redirected toward kitchen renovations, deck upgrades, and accessory dwelling units.

The Evolution of Housing: Healthy and Net Zero Innovation

Learn how advanced products, spurred by pandemic concerns, are making homes safer and more efficient—and are in red-hot demand by today’s home buyers and remodeling clients.

Two home building categories are getting intense scrutiny by today’s home buyers: health and efficiency. In this new ebook, quickly learn how progressive builders and product manufacturers are leaning on advanced products to make homes safer and more energy- and water-efficient.

Contemporary Home Enjoys Durability, Energy-Efficiency

Middle-class design combines with present-day craftsmanship to form a “sanctuary.”

Green marketing may attract home buyers, but quality construction is what makes happy homeowners. The occupants of this award-winning, Charis Custom Homes-built house in North Canton, Ohio are so happy with the result, they refer to it as their Sanctuary.

We Repeat ... Housing Disruption Is Here

This isn’t gloom and doom. It’s an invitation to rise to the top of the home building industry during times of intense change.

“Disruption happens to all industries. Usually there are two contributing factors: One that necessitates change and another that propels it,” says renowned architect and building science expert Sam Rashkin in the prologue of his new book, A Builder Guide to Surviving Disruption

Millennial Showhouse Launches in Austin

What do millennials want when it comes to housing? Follow along with us as we follow a couple on their quest for the perfect house.

New Technologies Reduce Home Energy Needs

These new and emerging technologies may make electrification the greenest way to power up the household.

If we want our societies to achieve net-zero carbon emission status, their many features must require less energy. They must integrate more sources of renewable energy systemically. These are largely the needs of developing smarter homes for ourselves, as well: Cut energy and resource expenditure needs significantly to become more sustainable.

ICC In Hot Seat with House Energy and Commerce Committee

Is this the first step toward turning over building code development to a more objective group?

For more than a decade advocates of energy efficiency—as well as stakeholders responsible for promoting the public good over profit-motivated special interests in the homebuilding industry—have reported a foul odor emanating from the ICC code development process.

Enchanté, Paris!

Within hours of taking office, President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, and began reinstating environmental protections, clearly signaling that climate action is a top priority for this administration.

Yesterday was a good one for the environment. Only hours after being sworn in, President Biden took demonstrable climate action, recognizing that climate change is the greatest challenge of our generation and the opportunity of a lifetime.

Apron-Front Sink Stuns With Ultra-Thin Walls

This new sink made with environment-friendly materials gives the farmhouse style a more svelte look.

BOCCHI just rolled out the Forte apron-front sink. This new take on a modern farmhouse style is the result of a two-material combo: fireclay and aluminum. 

“We are the first to innovate ceramic by putting metal in it,” says Dawn Robinson, Director of Marketing and Communication at BOCCHI. “We added aluminum deposits into our raw ceramic composition to create super-thin walls that keep their shape with no waviness.”

Home Office Reimagined

Pre-COVID, only about 10-15 percent of homes had dedicated office space. Now, that number is closer to 75 percent. What do remote workers want in a home office?

Congress Asks: Why Is ICC Disenfranchising Governmental Members?

Join Energy Efficient Codes Coalition’s Bill Fay for a webinar that explores why Congress is getting involved in ICC’s plan to limit IECC development to an ever-shrinking number of stakeholders.

Apartment Complex Is EarthCraft Platinum and Affordable

Sustainable project offers mixed-income housing in Alexandria, Va. 

A new $32 million development by AHC Inc. transformed a three-acre parcel of land owned by St. James Methodist Church into a vibrant mixed-income, mixed-use community. The five-story building earned an EarthCraft Multifamily Platinum certification and holds lessons for combining affordability with environmentally smart building practices.

Rid Your Air of COVID

With surging consumer demand for healthy home solutions, manufacturers are racing to develop innovative technologies that improve indoor air quality. One HVAC company, Carrier, has stepped up with a whole-home filtration system that inactivates 99 percent of coronavirus particles that are trapped on the filter.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence services, interest in healthy homes has mushroomed over the past year as COVID has unveiled the ugly reality that viruses, bacteria, and other undesirable particles are transferrable through the air.

Net Zero Now Builds Indestructible Elegance for $10k Premium

This home’s disaster-resistant build and green energy source give it the best of both worlds.

Owners of this new 2,512-square-foot home in Newburgh, N.Y., can rest easy knowing that their home is resistant to hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, tornados, blizzards, mold and bugs. Their monthly electric bill will rarely go above $10 a month. All of this only cost about $10,000 more than a home built to just meet code.

Sizzling Hot Solar

Despite pandemic-induced disruptions early in the year and regulatory uncertainties, the solar industry hit record levels in 2020, with projections for continued explosive growth in 2021 and beyond.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, the solar market soared in 2020.

The Case for Electric Living

Converting a fossil fuel-heavy home to an all-electric design takes time, but when it’s done, there’s financial and environmental satisfaction.

“Hi, I’d like to cancel my service.”

These seven anticlimactic words in a phone call to our natural gas company marked a momentous achievement for my family—the final black pipe carrying fossil fuels deep from North Dakota Bakken fields into our home has been shut off.

COGNITION Hot Take: Notable Housing Market Trends

Three housing market trends—access to capital, diversified portfolios, and enhanced virtual sales—offers insights into the sector’s strength as we shift into a new year.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence services, builders are accessing more capital, diversifying their portfolios, and expanding their sales capacity by leveraging online tools—all of which are driving the continued success of the housing market.

Mariposa Meadows: A Photojournalism Tale

See the Vision House Mariposa Meadows from the perspective of a future sustainability leader.

Driving to Mariposa Meadows is an adventure in and of itself, replete with spectacular views of majestic mountains, rushing rivers, expansive lakes, and horizons as far as the eye can see. On any given day, you may catch sight of one of the many species of local wildlife, including moose, elk, deer, bear, mountain lion, fox, coyote, eagles, and hawks.

Inflection Point?

The events that took place on the Hill yesterday were shocking. Will they open the floodgates to more civil disobedience? Will they serve as a wake-up call for national solidarity? Or will they have no impact, leaving us to business as usual?

It’s nearly inconceivable that a mob of angry protesters was able to forcefully storm the nation’s Capitol. It’s almost impossible to understand how our socio-political unrest could fester to a point where citizens determined that it was acceptable to desecrate the most sacred galleries of our democracy.

DOE ZERH: Mountainside Architectural Beauty

This home builder had the unenviable task of building a super energy-efficient dream home on a difficult building site.

Perched high on a mountainside in southwestern Colorado, the Glacier Club Modern Home offered commanding views and incredible challenges for the home builder. Mantell-Hecathorn Builders of Durango, Colo., was up to the challenge, delivering a home that was architecturally stunning and surpassed the builder’s own goals for high performance by winning a Housing Innovation Award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program.

COGNITION Hot Take: 2021 Housing Outlook

The housing market is expected to continue its rapid growth in the first half of 2021, with a possible slowdown in the second half of the year.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s suite of market intelligence services, the housing market is expected to continue on its growth trajectory in 2021. 

Adieu 2020!

As we bid a not-so-tearful goodbye to a most challenging year, we embrace the vast opportunities awaiting us.

No doubt, we’re all ready to see 2020 fade away in the rearview mirror. It was a year of sorrow, tumult, division, and fear—a wrinkle in time that took us to a far, far away alien land.

Al Fresco Living Accelerates During Pandemic

Homeowners have invested in enhancing their outdoor living areas at record rates during COVID.

While consumers have scaled back general living expenses during the pandemic, spending less on discretionary activities like dining out, recreation, and travel, they’re not holding back on investing in home improvement projects.

COGNITION Hot Take: The Magnetic Appeal of Induction Cooking

As homes go electric, interest in induction cooktops grows.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, more consumers are looking to induction cooking as a healthier alternative to natural gas cooking—and they are enjoying the experience. A recent survey by Sonoma Clean Power found that 90 percent of adopters found it easy to adjust to induction cooking (versus traditional electric or gas).

Powering Up

The electric housing market is about to go boom—and that’s a very good thing.

Once upon a time, Charles Arias thought all the talk about an emerging electric housing market was just that—talk. He says he couldn’t envision a time when people would willingly give up all-too-convenient natural gas water heaters or stoves in favor of electric-powered models that, in his opinion, simply didn’t perform as well.

Material Shortages Point to Alternative Products

As supply shortages impact lumber, hardware, and other goods, high-performance alternatives can solve some problems, but not all.

In the second quarter of this year, Home Depot, according to a presentation by company CEO Craig Menear, reported double-digit customer traffic increases over the previous year, and 23 percent higher spending. Lowes reported similar, record-breaking earnings.

Code Development Process Faces Internal Attack

Special interests in the building industry continue to tighten their long-standing stranglehold on the policy decisions of the International Code Council.

Special interest groups were soundly defeated (by overwhelming vote margins cast by ICC governmental members) in their desperate attempts to stifle proposed improvements for energy performance in the 2021 IECC--and even to roll back existing requirements already on the books.

COGNITION Hot Take: The Touchless Phenomenon

Demand for touchless faucets has exploded as consumers find creative ways to pandemic-proof their homes.

According to COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media’s market intelligence and data services, demand for touchless faucets has increased by nearly 130 percent in 2020 as consumers seek COVID-friendly solutions for their homes. This shouldn’t be a surprise, given that sink handles contain more than 600 times more microorganisms per square inch than toilet handles.

Being Peace

2020 has been a grueling year. May this holiday season bring you the miracle of mindfulness and wellbeing.

2020 displaced us. The arduous year removed us from our comfort zone, divorced us from many things we hold most dear.

New Guide Addresses Stagnant Water in Buildings with Low Occupancy

IAPMO water expert explains the importance of addressing water stagnation in low-occupancy buildings.

COVID has taken its toll on buildings. Work-from-home mandates have turned once-bustling office and multiuse complexes and other commercial structures into shuttered shells. Building owners have had to quickly pivot to new best practices to keep their structures safe and well maintained.

TruStile Doors Raise the Bar on Sustainable MDF Production

Ahead of the curve, this door manufacturer includes 60 percent recycled material and low-VOC adhesives to manufacture interior doors.

One of the things I look for in companies that make green claims is the gap between branding and the actual product’s chemistry and performance. You might call that gap greenwashing. For example, Coca Cola and other plastic bottle users have repeatedly backpedaled on increases in recycled plastic.

What Is Smart Home Technology?

In the present world, there should be no denying that people will need to be environmentally friendly as a species. Going green and utilizing sustainable things is great for the environment, and it may help ensure the wellbeing of Earth. Many men and women care about the environment and would like to do their job to make matters better.

Smart houses are amazingly the latest frontier for green living. Throughout the past couple of decades, a lot of individuals have equated smart houses with technological elegance and relaxation. This is changing quickly, people begin beating the ways which you may create your smart house more sustainable.

One of the very best ways which you could accomplish so is by considering a number of the distinct smart home products which are available now. Let us take a look at a few of the ways an intelligent house can be ecofriendly.

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