With an increased focus on sustainable building materials and energy-efficient products, builders are beginning to aim for improved, more sustainable homes and renovations. Surveying 14 experts about sustainable home building, Fixr.com has released its Sustainable Home Trends 2022 report.
Among the most popular features for a sustainable home are rooftop solar panels and eco-friendlier insulation while popular energy-efficient features include double-pane windows and extra insulation. However, the experts report that setbacks for these trends do include a lack of professionals with relevant expertise, the elevated cost of sustainable materials and features, and the inability to know what sustainable options are available.
See below for six takeaways from the report.
1. Utilizing solar. For sustainability, eight of the 14 experts agree that rooftop solar panels are one of the most popular sustainable home features in 2022. Solar panels can not only reduce energy costs, but also increase a home’s value. By 2030, it is expected that 13% of U.S. homes will have solar photovoltaic panels, the report says.
2. EV charging at home. Just last year, sales doubled for electric vehicles setting a record of 6.6 million on the road. The cleaner, more sustainable vehicle choice has produced a top trend for 2022—charging points at home. New builds are seeing an increased request for chargers, and existing homes can install a charger often by upgrading the home’s electrical panel to support the necessary 240-volt outlet.
3. Doubling up on eco-friendly insulation. With mentions on both the sustainable and energy-efficient trends, insulation is a popular topic among experts. Because adding extra insulation can make it easier to heat and cool a home—and reduce energy usage—eco-friendly options are on the forefront for many. These options aim to have less of a negative impact on the environment while being manufactured and also after installation.
4. Slowing energy loss. To keep warm or cool air in, five experts agree that double-pane or energy-efficient windows are one of the most popular energy-efficient features for the year. The two panes of glass stop thermal transfer and can allow for more energy-efficient use of heating and cooling.
5. Smarter energy control. For more energy efficiency, six out of 14 experts believe that smart thermostats are a top feature for 2022. The ability to set temperatures and control usage while at home or away saves energy costs as well as heavy HVAC system wear. Some thermostats can also learn habits and detect when your system can slow down or turn off altogether.
6. Confirming the benefits. Experts agree that sustainable and energy-efficient improvements should be checked to ensure the benefits are being received. An energy audit can be a great starting point to know where energy loss is occurring and how to address it. Common mistakes include not enough attic insulation and not filling gaps and cracks on exterior walls, windows, and doors.