Sustainability is big business for new homes in 2019.

Sustainability, green living, healthy homes, upcycling and recycling; these are all ideas that have been around for some time now, but with the age of new smart home technologies and Generation Z creeping closer and closer towards home buying ages, the demand for more modern, sustainable homes is set to increase.

There’s more to sustainability than simply installing solar panels and reclaimed water tanks though, it can permeate everything from the building materials themselves, to the interior design finishes and the technological capabilities of the building as well. Here’s some of the possibilities we think could become a reality for more new build homes over the next few years…


 

Sustainable building



Energy consumption is one of main contributors to global climate change and in turn that means lots of buildings are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings; reducing the need for heating, lighting and electricity through non-carbon-based energy sources and good design though, architects can make a big difference to the environment.
 

Naturally occurring materials

Expect to see more new build homes constructed using naturally occurring materials like wood (provided it is sustainably sourced of course) and natural stone. Things like bamboo could also be used to build sustainably given the fast-growing nature of this material, which means it is easy to re-grow.


Water wise landscaping

Water wise landscaping is another possible trend.  As the name suggests, water wise landscaping is all about creating functional and attractive outdoor spaces that are easily maintained in their natural surroundings and simultaneously help conserve water. In practice, this means installing things like water containers to collect rainwater and using cisterns to collect water from downspouts. This provides a source of free, unchlorinated rainwater for maintaining outdoor spaces.

Expect to see more mulch too. This can cut water needs in half by preventing the growth of thirsty weeds and reducing water evaporation. Lookout for smaller lawns and maybe even no lawns at all too. Lawns are notoriously thirsty and labour-intensive gardens so ditching the grass in favour of decking, patios or groundcover perennials can save lots of water.
 

Renewable energy sources

We mentioned earlier that lighting, heating and electricity are all contributing to our carbon footprint so building new houses reliant on renewable, non-carbon-based energy sources will be on the increase. Look out for more solar PV panels on roofs, biomass heating systems and hydro power systems for homes built near streams and rivers.


 

Sustainable interior design



Sustainable interior design doesn’t need to dictate a particular style, simply choosing the right decorating materials and thinking about the longevity, flexibility and durability of your furniture, fixtures and fittings can seriously improve the eco-creds of any home. The benefit of sustainable interior design is that it can also be applied to existing homes just as easily as it can be applied to new builds.
 

Modular flooring, carpets and modular carpets!

Now this might seem surprising but expect to see an increase in carpets especially across ground floor rooms. Why, because carpets are impressive thermal insulators, which is worth knowing when you consider that up to 15% of the heat in a room can be lost through uninsulated ground floors! That means choosing carpets over hard-floors and investing in good quality underlay could help homes ultimately use less energy for heating.



Another big flooring trend will be modular flooring. This delivers on both flexibility and durability because with modular flooring tiles, you can replace only the damaged tiles or change and update a small portion of flooring, instead of tearing up the whole thing. Did we mention there is modular carpet too (two birds one stone)?
 

Synthetic materials made from recycled waste

Get used to more home products made from synthetic materials which in turn have come from recycled waste. This is known as cradle to cradle (C2C) design. The idea behind this design concept is to sustainably manufacture products using safe ingredients that can be perpetually recycled. The beauty of these products is that is is reducing materials heading to landfill, minimizing waste in the production process and forces continued innovation so production and end products get smarter.
 

Greenery could be here to stay.

It’s sad but true that many homes are full of toxic compounds due to the furnishing, upholstery, building materials and cleaning products used inside them. While using more environmentally friendly products should be the first priority, sometimes there’s just not a lot you can do about the building and furniture you already own. But, dotting a bit of greenery around your home could help.

Houseplants are known for their air purifying qualities and different plants help tackle different toxins, so with the right combination, you can create a happy, healthier home that’s better for the environment.  We’d recommend the humble Spider Plant, Peace Lilies and Aloe Vera if your new to air purifying plants.
 

Flexible living spaces and adjustable furniture

We’re used to a throwaway culture but that’s not doing the environment any good. So, in a bid to reduce items going to landfill and to really make the most of what we have, expect to see more flexible living spaces incorporated into new build homes especially. Look out for things like bi-fold doors which better unify indoor and outdoor spaces and increase living spaces especially through the warmer months.

Dual purpose rooms like kitchen/diners and family rooms will also become more popular and repurposing bedrooms into offices, libraries and craft dens will also be on the rise as children fly the nest. As if that wasn’t enough, adjustable furniture is also a big area of excitement for interior designers, look out for pieces like reconfigurable kitchen tables, adaptable arachnid seating and peel-able baths (yes really).
 

Biophilic design

Speaking of introducing more plants into the home, many eco-conscious interior designers are taking things one step further and embracing Biophilic Design. The aim of biophilic design is to create happier, healthier spaces by incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature in the spaces we live in.

This involves using more natural materials and colours, maximising windows and natural light and making design choices that improve air quality, thermal comfort and acoustics. It’s serious stuff too as Biophilic design has been demonstrated to reduce stress and even blood pressure levels! As the world gets more hectic, we definitely think Biophilic design will be on the increase over 2019 and beyond.


 

Sustainable technology



Last but by no means least, one of the biggest trends set to increase sustainable living is the rise of smart home devices and the internet of things (IoT). Devices like smart thermostats for example, can reduce wasted energy by learning your living habits and producing a heating schedule based on when you are in and when you are out.

It’s not just heating that’s controllable through smart technology though, smart showerheads can help you monitor your water usage while the rOcean One “personalised water ecosystem” can help you use fewer plastic bottles and smart sockets can reduce the number of appliances left on standby and even turn appliances on and off when you’re not there.

With these new technologies the possibilities really are endless and we’re expecting to see more and more people embrace the connected home. We could even see more new build homes coming with smart thermostats installed as standard, watch this space.
 

And there you have it, our sustainability predictions for 2019…

  1. More natural building materials
  2. Water wise landscaping
  3. Renewable energy sources
  4. Modular flooring, especially carpets
  5. Cradle to cradle design
  6. Extra houseplants
  7. Flexible living spaces
  8. Adjustable furniture
  9. Biophilic design
  10. Smart home technology