Sustainable Design

Cutting-Edge Construction Trends Emerge as Sustainable Homes Rise

Developing in the homebuilding industry is becoming increasingly difficult, especially as professionals are faced with high construction costs, ongoing supply chain issues, difficult financing and rising land costs. Additionally, with the intensities of climate change on the rise, many states are turning to adopt new emissions and energy efficiency laws. For example, all new developments in California must have solar panels and be all-electric, and New York’s Local Law 97 set up building owners with a requirements to reduce emissions emitted by their properties by 40% by 2030. To not comply, means for costly fines. A battle has emerged from the chaotic landscape, and that’s between the desperate need for more housing and building in compliance with expensive environmental requirements. However, development technologies are emerging to help meet the needs of today’s building landscape.

According to Propmodo, One of the most popular and growing methods to build homes, offices, and even hospitals has been the Passive House standard. First originated in Germany in the late 1980s, the rigorous building standard has expanded around the world and to the United States, where it’s become a growing trend in the development community. Achieving the Passive House status is centered around an extremely tight building envelope and a ventilation system that brings fresh air into the home and pushes stale air out. By building to the standard, property owners can expect space heating and cooling energy savings of up to 90 percent compared to typical building stock and more than 75 percent compared to average new builds. 

Passive houses are more expensive to build, but experts say that over time, the standard makes up for the higher upfront costs through long-term savings in energy bills and maintenance costs. Plus, these buildings are thought to have higher indoor air quality and are able to maintain more balanced temperatures throughout the home, given how airtight and insulated they are. Building to the standard also ensures that owners will meet any emissions and energy requirements and likely even exceed them. Passive House buildings can have longer construction timelines due to the detailed planning required to meet the stringent efficiency standards and qualified builders, but there is usually not a substantial difference. 

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