As the housing market tanks and the cost of energy rises, the Economist predicts a boom for green homes. By 2010, studies have foreshadowed that green residences will account for 10% of new American construction. To meet increasing demand, new technologies and standards are starting to emerge that help define what exactly constitutes a green home...
In 2007, the US Green Building Council released its LEED certification standards for green homes, and the EPA has been applying their Energy Star standard to household appliances for years. To meet these standards, green homes often incorporate energy-efficient lighting, cooling, heating, and insulation systems.
Green technologies are getting better. Energy efficiency has increased in CFLs, LEDs, solar panels, "low-e" glass coatings, electrochromic glass that automatically adjusts its opacity, and vacuum-insulated windows. The article also notes that simple, small steps like switching to CFLs and properly sealing windows can have a greater, more cost-effective impact on a home's energy efficiency than expensive solar panels.
Perhaps the biggest leap in green technology will be user-friendly "dashboards" that allow residents to track how much energy they waste in their homes. Companies like Greenbox and Lucid Design Group (both based in California) are working on dashboard prototypes that would be purchased and used to track both financial and energy savings.
At Oberlin College, Lucid Design Group tested their dashboards and found that the devices helped students reduce their personal energy consumption by as much as 55%. To read the entire article from the Economist, which goes into detail about new technologies and housing predictions, click here.
All Green Home Photos via