Green Building Trends Include 'Passive Homes' and Affordable Sustainability
Spray Foam Insulation is Ideal for These Buildings
BRIELLE, NEW JERSEY - January 7, 2011 -- The Earth Advantage Institute recently released its 2011 Green Building Trends report, and it contains some interesting prospects for the next year of sustainable construction.
One of the most important new developments identified by the EAI is the spread of "passive buildings." These structures are snug and draft-free, surrounded in an essentially impermeable layer of air and insulation. Spray foam insulation is ideal for these sorts of buildings, because it expands to fill every available space and it seals off leaks even in oddly shaped applications.
Passive buildings often don't need ductwork or furnaces - they're generally designed to take advantage of local conditions and employ solar panels and solar water heaters to make them nearly independent from outside energy sources. This also means they are designed with, rather than independently of, local conditions including prevailing winds, the sun's path across the sky and the local climate.
Another important trend is the extension of green homes and buildings into lower price points, with help from local housing advocacy groups and initiatives like Habitats for Humanity. By building houses and apartments for lower-income residents with the latest in efficient technology, these groups help extend the benefits of a lower-energy lifestyle to those who might not be able to afford hybrid cars or solar panels.
Lifecycle analysis is another exciting trend - few houses last forever, and the materials employed in their construction weather and wear over time. By building from low-impact materials, recycling as much as possible and keeping construction waste out of landfills, contractors and homeowners can help reduce their contributions to the nation's ever-growing piles of trash.
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