Is there a future trend that we can spot that will indicate what will be incorporated into green homes? How do we define eco-friendly?
I was asked about are there any new, innovative products coming down the pipe that will help create green homes. If you have read a few articles on this site, you will probably guess that I would state that “reusing” is a focus of mine. I feel that this is often overlooked by some who want to go green. I should say that people who are really involved with eco-friendly lifestyles may already be on track with this topic, but many others are looking at what they can buy new to go green. (My complaint that “green” is being used more as marketing than encouraging responsible lifestyles). I think that there will be an industry built up on rehabilitating homes to be more efficient in the home’s use of energy and water.
Here are the trends that I see coming for those wondering about green products:
More efficient motors– the biggest waste of energy in your home are the motors used in various appliances. You will find motors in dishwashers, disposers, fans, air conditioning systems, refrigerators,and clothes washing and drying machines. Once break-throughs are made in motor technology, you will see appliance manufacturers mentioning this feature more often.
Modular design– this design concept has been around for a long time, but I think that manufacturers may take this concept further. For example, if the tank in your water heater has a good deal of mineral build up due to hard water, you will have to replace the entire unit. What if you could just replace the internal tank liner and valve? Reducing waste may be achieved by reducing the need to replace the entire product.
All products made from recyclable materials– connected to the idea of modualr design will be the concept of designing a product in light of what will happen to that product after it has served its purpose or after it is no longer wanted. All products have a lifecycle, and generally we have not considered what happens to an item in its death. Designers are already beginning to consider these factors. Once the marketing picks up on this concept, the consumer will start to think about products in this way too.
Green retrofitting product installers– there are already products on the market to make your home more efficient, but I think that you may see this sold as a package by firms that will go through the home to convert it to a green home.This will involve lender offering loan products geared toward this industry. It also means that we will see more local specialists; a green home in Houston is not the same as a green home in Phoenix.
Mechanical centers in the home– there will be a smarter usage of energy in homes. I can see heating of water and air (and maybe even of food) taking place in one equipment area of the home. This type of equipment (CHP systems) already exists, but it is not quite practical for most homeowners. Heat production may be used for energy production.
Energy production at the home and from providers– personally, I do not see us moving away from service providers to supply us with energy. However, I do see that solar power production will be made easier in future homes. There are films, paints, and photovotaic shingles in the works that can help a house produce its own energy.
Reduced energy usage by appliances/Passive design– most products will look like the ones that we have now, but the amount of energy needed will be reduced. However, we will go a step further to adopt design features that require no energy at all.
I feel that these trends will be mentioned more often when discussing green homes. Much of this will revolve around the idea that green is local. In advertising, this would be slogans that touch upon being “a green home for Houston” or name your city or state, and upon how the product is designed.