Sustainable architecture is becoming more and more accessible to the residential market. Image Via: Duket Architects Planners

A few decades ago, the concept of sustainable architecture was reserved for a small niche market. No one outside of the most diehard nature-fanatics would have given it a second thought, much less sought out ways to make their own homes more eco friendly. Today, however, it seems exactly the opposite. Companies are chomping at the bit to create the most sustainable building of them all.

This isn’t a coincidence. Sustainability is a smart decision. These structures function smoothly, look sleek, and make a positive impact on the environment. In short, it’s a win-win.

Let us tell you more about the sustainable architecture trend. Plus, how you can go about making your own home a little greener. The environment – and your wallet will thank you.

Sustainable residences are a smart choice for investors with a tight bottom line. Image Via: BcDc (B. Costello Design & Consulting, LLC)

Sustainability Looks Gorgeous:

Okay, admit it. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you probably have this misconception that living sustainably requires sacrificing style for function. Years ago, when eco-friendly architecture first popped on the scene that may not have been far from the truth. But, when it comes to today’s buildings, aesthetics have found their way to the forefront.

It’s important to note that sustainable design is not a one-size-fits all feature. There are a few ways in which you can bring a green touch to your home. Feel free to focus on the methods that work best for you:

  1. Using Natural Materials: Choose adobe for your roof, solid stone for flooring, or wooden siding for a rustic look.
  2. Repurposing Existing Materials: Aluminum siding, wooden beams, or
  3. Focusing on Systems: Energy-efficient appliances, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and programmable heating/cooling systems are just a few options.

Our best tip to ensure that your building project ends up looking fit for a magazine cover is to hire the right people. Search out an architect and interior designer who specialize in sustainability – and don’t settle for less. Their industry knowledge and connections will grant you to the widest variety of green products available on the market. From there, you’ll likely find a look that you love.

Wooden siding can fit a variety of tastes while still being sustainable. Image Via: Morgan Howarth Photography

Green Buildings Save Money:

One of the most attractive benefits of going green is that your utility bills – and building costs drastically decrease. After all, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to save a little money?

A recent study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that eco-friendly buildings used, s use 25% less energy and 11% less water than their non-sustainable counterparts. They also found that those buildings emit 34% less carbon dioxide and cost 19% less to maintain. In total, these numbers amount to about a 15% decrease in monthly utility costs overall.

That study focused on office buildings, but by going green, you could bring that savings into your own home. But remember: Once you have those energy-efficient systems in place, the other key to lowering energy expenditure is by keeping your usage to a minimum. As cliché as it sounds, make sure to turn off lights, water, and electronics when they aren’t in use.

Solar panels and key lights are two ways that you can naturally lower your utility bills. Image Via: Schrader & Companies

Eco-Friendly Architects Are Constantly Innovating:

Are you one of those people who always needs the newest gadget? If so, get ready to jump on the green bandwagon because sustainable architecture has brought some innovative tech to the table. As the movement becomes steadily trendier, it’s only going to get better from here.

Designed by Boeri Studio, Bosco Verticale in Milan is the world’s first vertical forest. The two 26-story residential towers are host to nearly 17,000 plants that cover the façade. In addition to adding to the structure’s beauty, the “forest” absorbs carbon and dust from the atmosphere while simultaneously cooling the two towers

The Port of Portland in Oregon houses a wastewater management system called “The Living Machine”. Worrell Water Technologies designed a system that uses plants and microorganisms to filter wastewater and reuse it in non-potable capacities. The structure also boasts a reflective membrane roof and geothermal heating.

German architect Werner Sobek lives in a home that is fully modular and composed of 100% recycled materials. He calls the structure R128 produces no emissions and generates all it’s energy through solar cells. However the real showstopper in this home are the highly-insolated glass walls that cover all the sides.

Green architects currently are moving towards more modular homes for their simplicity. Image Via: Thirdstone, Inc.

The Environmental Impact Is Undeniable:

Creating buildings that offer net zero energy is the gold standard for many green architects. This term refers to structures that generate “as much or more energy than they consume”. While it may be a little cheesy to think about, there’s value (and, if we’re being honest, a smug sense of satisfaction) in being able to say that you’re home is actively working to create a better environment.

To achieve a net zero home, you first need to take steps to minimize your home’s use of energy and resources. This means installing those energy-efficient lighting and plumbing fixtures and making sure that you turn off power sources when not using them. The second step is to find a way for your home to generate energy on its own. It could be through installing solar panels or creating a rooftop green `space.

If you’re truly serious about building a home that’s off the grid, you may want to hire an energy auditor, or a professional who can point out all the ways in which you can make your floor plan greener. As you go through the steps to input sustainable structures in your home, consider working to obtain a green certification. These organizations may be able to offer you financial incentives for your efforts and the certifications add resale value to your home.

Embrace green thinking to help preserve views like these. Image Via: Carlos Delgado Architect

Green architecture is becoming steadily more popular. Every day it seems as though a new, fancy, sustainable structure is popping up. Trust us, there’s a reason. Eco-friendly architecture is a smart business decisions. These buildings look attractive, embrace the newest technology, save money, and of course, help build a better environment. What’s not to love? Take our word for it – you should look into how to bring these benefits to your own home.

How do you feel about the sustainable architecture trend? Would you consider adopting green practices and systems in your own home? Do you know about a great green tech item? Tell us about it in the comments!