Luxury home buyers have become increasingly sensitive to their carbon footprint, allowing architects and engineers to use innovative processes and materials in creating and renovating high-end homes. Staying on top of these trends and technological advances will help luxury real estate professionals know what to look for and what questions to ask when assisting affluent clients who are seeking ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce.
As Earth Day approaches (Saturday, April 22), we are taking a look at some of the latest trends in design and construction that minimize environmental impact while maximizing functional design and well-being for homeowners.
“Renovation and reuse projects typically save between 50 and 75 percent of the embodied carbon emissions compared to constructing a new building.” The American Institute for Architects (AIA) notes that reusing and recycling materials, reduces carbon emissions and saves on construction and design costs. In renovating a Cambridge, Massachusetts home, Wolf Architects, Inc. utilized reclaimed lumber originally harvested in the 19th century that proved to be a higher quality than equivalent wood species today.
Wolf Architects, Inc. milled reclaimed lumber for the exterior cladding on this Cambridge home that proved stronger than today's wood. Photo by Eric Roth
Thanks in part to the success of IKEA’s Sinnerlig collection, sustainable cork products have trickled up into the luxury design world. The cork used in products from wine stops to insulation comes from the just the bark of the cork oak tree, allowing the tree to continue to grow. Aesthetically pleasing, tactile, and warm, cork is also a very functional material that is resistant to mold, mildew, water, termites, fire, cracking, and abrasions.
Tesla unveiled its design for solar roof tiles. Photo Tesla.com
One of the most talked about materials in design and construction this year is the solar roof tiles developed by Tesla, known for its electric cars. While traditional solar panels come at a high cost, when not factoring government rebates and tax credits, Tesla claims that its solar roof tiles will cost less than an equivalent roof, opening the possibility for more than just luxury homes to produce and conserve renewable energy.
See Dwell Magazine’s latest list of LEED-certified residences that use the latest technology and renewable resources to minimize environmental impact.
AIA's Ten Steps to Reducing Carbon Embodied Emissions during the construction and renovation process.
Check out the REALTOR® Magazine 2017 Home Design Trends featuring several environmentally friendly ideas.