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.

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A perfect storm of labor, regulatory, land and materials costs have crushed the housing market to half its former size. Can data transparency revive the boom times?

Builders often take the heat for high housing costs. But often, they’re playing the role of reactors, not actors. That’s not to say there aren’t some operators out there who ask too much in terms of margins and do inferior work that’s destined to cause heartache for homeowners.
But by and large, these are not the readers of Green Builder. What’s facing our sector—the high-performance segment of the homebuilding industry—are powerful external forces, including labor shortages, radical tariffs on lumber, a dysfunctional lending system and populations migrating toward urban hubs.

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In 2018, California passed a mandate that will require solar panels on most new homes and multi-family buildings beginning in January, 2020.  But as builders, installers, manufacturers, and homebuyers are ramping up to prepare for the directive, its future is in question.

The Golden State made history last May by passing a mandate that requires new homes to have solar beginning in January, 2020.  The ruling applies to most single-family homes, as well as multi-family buildings up to three stories (including condos and apartment complexes.)  Homes that are not suitable for solar (for example, those surrounded by large shade trees) will be exempt.

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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, over one quarter of Americans currently live in all-electric homes.  But that number is about to explode as municipalities from coast to coast phase out natural gas to tackle climate change.

According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, “Seventy million American homes and businesses burn natural gas, oil, or propane on-site to heat their space and water, generating 560 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.” 

But California, generally the harbinger of progress in the U.S., is changing the game, blazing a trail towards net zero emissions homes and buildings, as well as a completely carbon-neutral economy by 2045.   

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On Monday, President Trump officially began the process of pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, sidelining the world’s largest economy from crucial discussions about climate change—the greatest challenge of our generation, and the opportunity of a lifetime.

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The first casualty of secrecy is trust.  A recent New York Times article shines the light into a dark corner of the building industry.

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It is not unusual nowadays to read an opinion piece written by someone who is lamenting the loss of things we used to take for granted, such as courtesy, good manners, consideration or professional behavior. It would be easy to point to particular figures of prominence, politicians, professional athletes, celebrities and so on, and make them the targets of our dissatisfaction but that wouldn’t be completely fair or honest.

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Ed Mazria, esteemed architect and founder of Architecture 2030, has been a leading zero hero for over a decade, calling for zero emissions in the built environment by 2050.  His seminal work has helped create a shift in the way we think about the world around us, impacting policy and programs across the globe.  Mazria will be presenting his goals and vision at our upcoming Sustainability Symposium 2020 on January 20, 2020 in Las Vegas.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the building sector accounts for nearly 40% of CO2 emissions each year—more than any other industry.  Commercial and residential buildings use more than 70% of total electricity use in the U.S.

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Andrew Winston, sustainability expert and author of Green to Gold and The Big Pivot, holds nothing back when asking tough questions about our future.  A tepid approach, he believes, would be irresponsible—even negligent—since he avows that we’re out of time for timid responses and flaccid action.  His approach is bold and his vision is big.  With wakeup calls all around us, he wonders if we have the wherewithal to listen.

Green Builder Media is in the throes of planning for our fourth annual Sustainability Symposium 2020: Improving the Human Condition, scheduled for January 20, 2020 on the UNLV campus in Las Vegas.  Known for being one of the most compelling and thought-provoking events of the year, the Sustainability Symposium is designed to elevate the national dialogue about intelligent solutions for a sustainable future. 

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By improving site surveillance, worker safety and resource management, this flying robot technology could make construction greener and more efficient than ever.

Drones, once a hobby for a few enthusiasts, are now prominently featured across a number of professional fields. Today, delivery and cargo drones transport goods across increasing distances, military drones spy on enemy combatants, and ag-drones engage in precision farming.
More than any other industry, however, drones are being put to use on construction worksites, with their use surging by 239 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to drone software manufacturer DroneDeploy. Infrastructure work now makes up 35.5 percent of professional drone use, far ahead of the next two biggest drone-using industries, agriculture (25.5 percent) and transportation (10.2 percent).

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It’s no coincidence that housing’s transition from fossil fuel-based heating and appliances to all electric concurs with the dropping per-watt cost of renewable energy.

I read recently that the city of San Luis Obispo, in Central California, is considering rewriting its building codes to support all-electric living. New homeowners will have to pay extra to install gas appliances, stoves, heater and dryers—and that money will be put toward carbon offsets. The goal is to help the city reach carbon neutrality by 2035.

For the past decade, Green Builder Media has bestowed Home of the Year awards upon a wide spectrum of remarkable projects.  But our annual awards program isn’t just limited to amazing green homes.  We also celebrate impactful innovations, sustainable municipal programs, and, my favorite, Sustainability Superheroes.  Do you, or someone you know, qualify for this prestigious distinction?

Since its inception over a decade ago, Green Builder Media’s Home of the Year Awards program has set the standard for recognizing excellence in residential performance, quality, intelligence, and sustainability. 

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The building industry practice of driving cost out of new home construction to the detriment of long-term durability and energy efficiency is the worst way to build a house. VISION House® Seattle Cascades demonstrates a better way.

C.R. Herro is building a sustainable house. It isn’t just his dream house; it is the culmination of all he has ever learned about home building in the 10 years he has served the residential home building industry. Currently the vice president of innovation for Meritage Homes, he knows firsthand the tradeoffs that happen between cost and value, how to educate buyers on the importance of incorporating sustainability as a system, and how total value represents a better business model.

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From Puerto Rico to Alaska, communities across the nation are being rocked by extreme weather events and natural disasters, further exacerbating the already snowballing housing shortage.  Some communities in the bullseye of this season’s assault haven’t even had time to rebuild fully from last year’s calamities.  Something has to give.

It’s no secret that our country is facing a far-reaching housing crisis.  California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Washington are reaching a breaking point with respect to housing shortages and homelessness, with over 250,000 people living on the streets in those five states alone. 

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Green Builder Media’s COGNITION Smart Data reveals the power of the consumer when it comes to IAQ purchasing.

Once the purview of builders who constructed houses for wellness evangelists or buyers with severe health issues, IAQ-equipped homes are now sought after by everyday home buyers, says new COGNITION Smart Data research: 

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Green Builder Media invites you to join us at our fourth annual Sustainability Symposium on January 20, 2020 in Las Vegas.  Focused on the nexus between environmental stewardship, social equity, and financial abundance, the event will highlight how sustainable development can optimize health and opportunity.

Martin Luther King said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” 

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Connected Living offers homeowners new levels of convenience, efficiency, and independence as our smart homes can now learn our behaviors and respond accordingly to enhance comfort and cost-savings. Thorough COGNITION Smart Data, Green Builder Media is closely tracking key trends, market drivers, and innovations within the exploding connected living sector.

The proliferation of the connected living space is mindboggling.  Nearly 40% of Americans currently use smart technology in their homes.  65% of homeowners either own a smart home device or plan to purchase one this year.  Americans will spend $90 billion on smart home devices by 2023.  Once a homeowner purchases one smart home device, they are 70% likely to purchase another one.  And 60% of homebuyers will pay more for a smart home.

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Water is the most pressing issue of our time.  If you’re in the building industry, it’s particularly important—simply put, if there is no water, there are no permits.  Rapidly changing water related codes, mandates, programs and pricing will continue to place new demands on the building sector, impacting every home and building. Green Builder Media is closely tracking the quickly advancing water sector with COGNITION Smart Data, revealing key trends, market drivers, and innovative technologies that can help solve for the growing water crisis.

Due to the combination of increased water consumption, climate change, pollution, poor infrastructure, and weak governance, nearly two-thirds of the global population lives in water stressed areas, making the need for innovative water solutions dire.

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For many homebuyers, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has quickly shifted from a ‘nice to have’ to a necessity.  In fact, for some consumers, it is now as important as location when buying a home.  Green Builder Media is closely tracking the exploding market phenomenon of healthy homes with COGNITION Smart Data, and we’ve uncovered some interesting—and surprising—trends.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has historically been the equivalent to the hypothetical monster lurking under the bed.  No one quite understood it, and, even though people had an inkling that it was scary and worth paying attention to, they hoped that by ignoring it, they could simply wish it away.

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Actively addressing Orlando’s lack of affordable housing, a new 58-unit project sets out to prove that affordability and sustainability can co-exist.

Ranking third nationally in lack of housing for extremely low-income residents, Metro Orlando offers only 18 rentals for every 100 families in deep poverty, according to a recent National Low Income Housing Coalition study.

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Since its inception eleven years ago, Green Builder Media’s Home of the Year and Sustainability Awards program has set the standard for recognizing excellence in residential performance, quality, intelligence, and sustainability.   This year’s Call for Entries is now open—enter your high-performance project, standout community, innovative product, or Sustainability Superhero today!

Green Builder Media’s annual Home of the Year and Sustainability Award winners never fail to delight and inspire.  Featuring a broad spectrum of beautiful residential projects that incorporate advanced technologies, building science best practices, and forward-thinking design strategies, as well as innovative green products and pioneering professionals, our annual program highlights the best in sustainability.

That 'Ounce of Prevention'

When you reside at almost 9,000 feet above sea level, you don’t necessarily give local flooding a lot of thought. Flooding is something you see and hear about on the news coming from coastal regions and the farmlands in the Midwest. That changed for us here in the Colorado Rockies this summer, after we received roughly twice our normal snow accumulation over the winter. That tremendous snow load triggered massive avalanches here and in many other parts of the Mountain West, as they crashed down the slopes and chutes with incredible force.

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We are nothing without nature, and extinction does not allow for a do-over.  Which makes the Trump Administration’s proposed rollbacks to the Endangered Species Act particularly devastating—both for the planet and for the human psyche.

The environmental philosopher John Muir said, “The mountains are calling and I must go.  In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” 

3 Variables Consumers Most Associate With Authentic Green Building

Green building is driven by a unique value equation that entices consumers to specify or ask for particular green products in their houses, says brand-new COGNITION Smart Data research.

Research released in July from Green Builder Media’s COGNITION Smart Data reveals that the top three variables most often associated with green and sustainable building practices are indoor air quality (IAQ), building and design practices, and quality construction. This trilogy is followed closely by variables that drive down ongoing operating costs (such as renewable energy, durability, and low maintenance).

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Tom Halford, VP of Premium and Builder Brands of Home Appliances at Samsung, draws on his 20+ years’ experience to share the trends and technology that are shaking up the homebuilding industry.

Changing customers, changing trends

Millennials are all grown up and, today, this segment of buyers ages 37 years old and younger is driving the housing market. Halford remarks, “Millennials are strongly growing in the single-family buyer market and make up the largest share of residents at 37 percent.” ¹

With this shifting demographic comes shifting demands, Halford explains. As 74% of millennials plan to buy a home in the next five years,² there’s an opportunity for builders to capitalize.  “Millennials think differently with modern expectations. This translates to their home appliances. We’re witnessing their willingness to pay a premium in terms of technology, design and innovation.”

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Today’s many man-made crises can be addressed, but not if we listen to hucksters and sociopaths.

More often than not, predictions about the future get it wrong. As recently as the late 1960s, when the population was 3 billion, author Paul Ehrlich’s warnings predicted in The Population Bomb that humans would overwhelm Earth’s resources within 10 years, leading to vast famines, war and collapse. We’d be living in a “Soylent Green” world, eating each other to survive.

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With minimal effort, builders can keep track of money flowing in and out the door.

I’ve written about the importance of a vendor payments strategy for companies in today’s business climate. But the reality is it’s twice as imperative for construction companies to implement this process, because the industry’s payment challenges are bigger—and so is the opportunity. Payments are at the center of two critical areas of the construction business: vendor relationships and job progress. So, getting strategic about how you pay can make a big impact.

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Corporate sustainability has evolved far beyond a feel-good marketing strategy to engender goodwill and loyalty.  It has become an economic and environmental imperative, as companies, policymakers, and financial regulators across the globe recognize the risks associated with the failure to plan appropriately for climate change.  Fortunately, corporations in all sectors of the economy are answering the call with innovative approaches to sustainability. 

Armed with indisputable data and undeniable science, senior financial regulator and Trump-appointed member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (which oversees major financial markets) Rostin Behnam has publicly declared that the risks associated with climate change eclipse those posed by the mortgage meltdown that caused the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession.

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Green Builder® Media embarks on its next extraordinary demonstration project: a stunning dream house that doubles as a template for sustainable building that pros and homeowners across the nation can emulate.

Builders and architects design houses of all kinds in this country, but given a chance to create homes for themselves, what do you think they would build?

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Innovation in high performance products, renewable energy, and automation technologies, and corresponding advancements in codes and policy, have facilitated a massive migration towards net zero energy structures, as affirmed by a new market report released by Team Zero.

The market is heating up for net zero building. Grand View Research Inc. projects that the global market for net zero energy structures will explode to $78.8 billion by 2025.

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As climate change puts more cities and communities at risk of flooding, wildfire, super storms, drought, and other cataclysmic natural events, which areas will be hardest hit, and who foots the bill?

From coast to coast, U.S. cities are being brutalized by climate change.  As the toll of destruction escalates, lives are torn apart and costs skyrocket. 

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With humility and delight, Green Builder magazine proudly accepts the award for Best Trade Publication for the seventh year in a row from the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE).  A hearty congratulations to our stalwart editorial team, and a sincere thank you to NAREE, as well as our readers, advertisers, partners, and friends, for your continued support and contribution to our ongoing success.

Since our launch in 2005, Green Builder Media has helped set the standard for excellence in sustainability, quality, resiliency, and wellness in the built environment.  There are many things that differentiate Green Builder Media, beginning with our unwavering commitment to and passion for making the world better, cleaner, healthier, and more efficient. 

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Our nation is embroiled in divisive conflict over formidable issues ranging from immigration to abortion to race equality to climate change.  On this July 4th holiday, perhaps we can take a moment to remember what unites us and celebrate the basic freedoms we enjoy that allow us to express our opinions with such conviction.

The remote mountain town in southwestern Colorado that I live in is stunning at this time of year.  The rushing river, exquisite wildflowers, abundant wildlife, and robust forests comprise an undeniable testament to all that is good and peaceful in the world.

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Led by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York lawmakers reached a deal last week to pass a historic climate plan that would create a net zero economy, effectively eliminating greenhouse gas emissions within the state by 2050.

New York just raised the bar on climate action.  With the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the state plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 85% (when compared to 1990 levels) by 2050 and offset the remaining 15% through carbon capture measures.

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When dealing with a disability, it’s today’s tech to the rescue.

Having a physical disability used to mean a life confined to sitting in a chair or relying or holding a caretaker’s hand to get from place to place. But now, being called “disabled” doesn’t quite seem right. Thanks to many assistive devices developed in the past 20 years, you can do what everyone else can—which means don’t really have a disability—right?

Heck, those technological advances improving vision, mobility and illness might even make you better at something than someone deemed “healthy and normal.”

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An ADU may be smaller, but it’s just as challenging to build as a full-sized dwelling.

Steve Snyder and his wife Jackie Ellenz first learned about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) through their designer, Libby Holah. She and her husband Greg had previously designed a bathroom for Snyder and Ellenz, and they were a natural first choice when it came to remodeling part of their home in Portland, Ore.

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It’s been a long road toward respect for the ‘other’ type of tiny home, but accessory dwelling units have (finally) begun to gain traction.

In the beginning, it was just an affordable way to buy a home. Kol Peterson had relocated to Portland, Ore., in 2010 and needed somewhere that would be his without breaking his budget.

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The baby boomer generation has entered the period of life when it needs assistance to live comfortably and independently. Just in time, assisted living technology could offer a pathway to what boomers want most.

Chances are, you’ve already encountered the reality of aging in America, through a family member or on your own. And unless you’re very wealthy or live on a commune, it’s far worse than what you expected.

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Rostin Behnam, a top financial regulator and member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is sounding the alarm, urging the public to understand the risks associated with climate change, comparing them to the mortgage meltdown that led to the Great Recession.

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Just about this time of year a decade ago—yes, it really has been 10 years now—the Consensus Committee that had been seated to develop the first draft of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS, also known as ICC 700) and special members of the staff of what was then called the NAHB Research Center (which is now known as the Home Innovation Research Labs [HIRL], which served as the secretariat for the project), submitted the work to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for official approval.

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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