Numerous detrimental influences on nature and human health have been linked to conventional construction methods. With growing concerns about climate change, an increasing number of people are taking steps in order to minimize their carbon footprint, as well as to invest in homes and structures that will be able to last and perform their function well into the future. From creating floating houses to homes that adapt to the weather, environmentally conscious architects are changing the way we build.
But green living doesn’t have to look (or cost) like something out of a sci-fi movie. Today, there is a vast availability of ecological materials that can keep inhabitants safe while contributing to minimized pollution. Combined with modern design solutions, they’re helping create aesthetically pleasing homes in which families can live comfortably and sustainably.
Many small adjustments can have a big impact
One of the best ways to tackle climate change is to consider our own carbon footprint and how it is influenced by the space we inhabit.
The size, structure, and layout of a home all play an important part in how we’re contributing to climate change. And this impact doesn’t just stop at building materials. It’s highly reflected in design and decor, as well as the everyday habits we’ve developed within a space.
Luckily, a great number of property owners (as well as renters) are making small modifications to the way they’re living. Although these are not always ideal, they’re still better than not doing anything:
- Cutting back on the size
The fact that the average house has doubled in size since the 1960s can be quite concerning, especially considering that it’s likely to be inhibited by fewer people. In the last decade, however, we’re witnessing a growing trend of smaller structures that are more energy-efficient and use fewer resources, yet still provide comfort and even luxury.
- Water and electricity usage
More and more architects are equipping their designs with top of the line technology that is allowing homeowners to use green energy and reduce water consumption. Solar power is becoming especially popular now that Tesla has entered the market with affordable and durable solar roofing.
In addition to communal gardens that allow urban dwellers to plant and grow their own food, green roofs are also becoming commonplace. This type of solution has multiple benefits – it ensures excellent insulation, offers a visually appealing design, and, perhaps most importantly, it helps drain stormwater, which is becoming an increasing problem with global warming. It also improves air quality and helps reduce the urban heat island effect.
Repurposing for modern households
One of the most common misconceptions about building and remodeling is that old is bad and new is good. For the most part, this approach only creates excess waste.
Zero-wasters already know the importance of repairing and repurposing (before recycling and eventually throwing away), and you’ll be happy to hear that creating a visually stunning home can (and should) include a lot of these practices.
- Alternative living
In addition to the already mentioned tiny homes, there are a number of eco-friendly housing choices you can consider. Adapting agricultural or industrial structures is becoming increasingly popular, but so is constructing homes out of shipping containers. These are excellent solutions because they allow you to recycle your living space, decreasing the amount of waste involved in you getting an amazing new home.
You’ll find that a number of traditional construction materials can be used anew, with just a little bit of love. Designers are repurposing old bricks, lumber, steel, and glass into beautiful objects that will be not only practical, but also long-lasting. They’re definitely better than their synthetic counterparts, not just for you, but for the environment as well.
Current trends dictate that those who want to stay fashionable need to change the entire interior design of their home every ten years. But in reality, that’s completely unnecessary, and most interior designers are turning to more sustainable practices.
The key to a home that will look just as great 50 years from now as it did when it was built lies in choosing high-quality, simple pieces that complement each other, and that can be upcycled in the future to offer an updated look.
Investments that are going to last
Anyone concerned about climate change wants to live in a home that is future-proof. Floods, drought, temperature growth, and the constantly decreasing quality of air and drinking water are all waiting for us in the not-too-far future. Luckily, architecture and design are quickly catching up, coming up with solutions that aim to increase living quality, as well as to minimize the negative impact we have on mother Earth.
But the thing is, one eco-friendly household in a sea of conventional buildings won’t account to much. Instead, what we need is to actively apply ourselves to creating a better future.
For many people, this will mean different things. Some will decide to commit to a zero-waste lifestyle. Others will ensure that their home is powered by clean energy. There will be those who will encourage changes in construction regulations so as to prioritize healthy, sustainable practices.
All of these are equally important in building a better future. The role of design and architecture is to make it not only possible, but appealing, affordable, and easy to adopt by everyone.
Caitlin is a bookworm and a medical student. She is particularly interested in topics related to science, nutrition, and well-being. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, blogging, and grilled tofu. To see what Caitlin is up to next, check out her Twitter dashboard.
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