The Latest Trends in The Homebuilding Industry
When we look at the latest trends in the homebuilding industry, we see a shift in priorities. Americans are starting to build with their values; they are becoming more educated about construction methods, fossil fuel dependency, and the impact our built environment has on individual health and the health of the planet.
So, what can we expect to see a lot more of in 2020? Check out the five trends we think are at the top of the list.
1. Prefab Homes
For too long, modular and prefabricated construction translated in many minds as cheap or inferior, but that is not the case. Prefab homes boast shorter build times, higher energy efficiency, minimal construction waste, enhanced quality control, and assurance that the end product matches the design, which can mean a lower cost for higher quality. Prefabrication, or off-site fabrication, is gaining traction based on the long-term economic benefits, energy performance, and the advanced and eco-friendly technologies employed from design to build.
In 2020, expect an increase in consumer awareness regarding the unique benefits of prefabrication, including sustainability, beauty, floor plan flexibility, and architectural styling.
2. All-Electric Homes – Common Sense and State Requirements
While California might lead the way in requiring all-electric homes, (See: 'All-Electric' Movement Picks up Speed), the reduction in fossil fuel dependence and increase in renewable energy is gaining national adoption. Electric homes provide a magnitude of greenhouse gas reduction that cannot be matched by establishing energy efficiency measures alone. To support the goals, utilities are offering developers and homebuilders rebates on all-electric projects, and even to homeowners opting for a gas-to-electric retrofit.
3. A Focus on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Building airtight houses reduces heating and cooling loads, which in turn reduces energy use; this also has an impact on indoor air quality (IAQ). In an airtight house, sufficient ventilation must be introduced to maintain health and comfort. Mechanical air systems serve as the home's lungs - keeping the air fresh for occupants. The use of heat/energy recovery ventilation (ERV/HRV) systems, for example, provides a continuous supply of healthy fresh air. Another important consideration involves the materials used to build, insulate, finish and decorate our homes. Within an airtight environment, the dangerous toxins emitted by unsafe materials can be harmful to our respiratory and nervous systems. Fortunately, low- or non-volatile organic compound (VOC) materials, fixtures, and furnishings are becoming more accessible.
4. Building for Evolving Lifestyles
Another trend is the customization of spaces to meet non-traditional and evolving lifestyles. This means that homes need to be adaptable and flexible for the homeowner. Bensonwood's OpenBuilt(c) building system makes the service layer, which includes mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, access to the home can be updated without impacting the integrity of the building envelope. The OpenBuilt system combines a sustainable and durable structure with innovative interior finishes. As technologies, interior layouts, and styles evolve, owners can update as needed. OpenBuilt not only enables and supports innovation, but it also plans for it.
How long will a home last? Americans are no longer tolerating the throw-away culture. Our planet can't afford the poor quality of construction that results in wasted resources. Traditionally, most homebuyer, builder, or designer decisions have relied on market familiarity; now, durability requirements challenge builders and designers to sharpen their focus. The details that will make a home last for ages include airtightness and quality, durable materials, protection from elements and critters, decay, natural disasters, and even normal wear-and-tear.
These trends all have something in common—the customization of the house for the individual. And as Tedd Benson, founder of Bensonwood and Unity Homes, says, "Money has been buying amenities for decades, but in the building industry, money hasn't bought performance. Yesterday's luxury home was defined by its size and flash, rather than its quality and comfort and how the home relates to its inhabitants. People are catching on. This is the biggest trend in home building today."