By Holly Welles, Construction and Commercial Real Estate Writer and Editor of The Estate Update

Trends come and go in home-building. However, one idea taking the industry by storm is the push towards sustainability. People building homes today care about open concepts, the size of the master suite and how high the ceilings will be. Yet they also care about where materials come from and their impact on the environment.

Homebuilders can always discover new strategies to provide eco-friendly options to clients and continue to grow their businesses in a sustainable direction. Read the guide below to learn about 2020 trends in sustainability and natural design.

Natural Homebuilding Trends to Look For in 2020

If you’re a home construction professional, it’s crucial to stay up to date on the latest natural trends. Clients will continue to focus on opportunities to improve sustainability and cut down on long-term energy costs.

Preparation can help your team advise new homeowners on winning strategies for green homebuilding. Here’s what to look for in the year ahead.

Natural Lighting and Windows

Experts will likely describe new houses built in 2020 as light, airy and fresh. Studies show natural light is good for your physical and mental health. It boosts the levels of vitamin D in the body. Plus, it may directly stimulate the production of serotonin — a neurotransmitter that influences mood — in the skin.

It’s easy to see why natural light is a growing focus for homeowners. This is a design choice that benefits both health and aesthetics. Large windows allow the sun to flood in and offer great views of the property. When your client decides to resell, they’ll have attractive features to market inside and out.

Plus, light coupled with energy-efficient windows provides an opportunity to cut down on electric use. For one, natural lighting reduces the need to switch on electric lights during the day. Meanwhile, energy efficient windows can help reduce leakage that results in higher heating and air conditioning costs throughout the year.

Take advantage of these design considerations to drive more value for clients. It’s crucial to be mindful of the direction windows face and think through strategies to maximize natural light.

Reclaimed and Sustainably Sourced Materials

In the push for sustainable design, vintage and recycled materials are on the rise. Vintage materials add a natural look to the house, making them a popular style choice. Most importantly, second-hand items reduce the environmental impact of a project and can increase the builder’s bottom line. Homebuilders can use reclaimed wood from barns or salvage yards or check out local thrift stores and swap meets.

One area where reclaimed materials are booming is flooring. Homeowners appreciate both the inherent value of hardwood flooring and the eco-friendly touch of sourcing reclaimed or sustainably sourced materials. That’s partly why wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council was the most frequently specified material in green building projects in 2019.

Looking to branch out and source more recyclable building materials? Consider cork, bamboo and recycled metal. Builders should also research natural insulation materials, such as sheep’s wool. Clients who place a high value on sustainability will appreciate the opportunity to invest in natural fibers or recycled materials.

Of course, it’s crucial to ask tough questions when seeking out sustainable suppliers. Location can have just as big an impact on a project’s carbon footprint as the material itself. Locally sourced materials are great alternatives to shipping supplies across the world.

Blending Outdoor and Indoor Space

One popular trend homebuilders will see in 2020 is blending indoor and outdoor space. Green-focused homeowners want the opportunity to make their yards more livable and bring the garden closer to home. A patio, deck or screened-in porch adds natural space homeowners can enjoy.

In 2019, outdoor living trends also included eco-conscious landscaping and solar-powered lighting. This indicates that homeowners want to spend more time outdoors without creating a negative impact on their energy usage or local environment. Fortunately, there are many creative strategies builders can use to deliver on this wish.

Builders can consult with homeowners to discover what outdoor features they’d like to plan. Perhaps a vertical garden wall can bring plant-based design to a living space. A patio can be built with sliding glass panels for seamless integration with an indoor living room. Landscaping can also be sloped to control stormwater runoff and keep plantlife naturally maintained.

Focus on Indoor Air Quality

Ventilation is vital to the health of those living in the home. This is especially important for those who suffer from allergies or asthma attacks. Fortunately, new homebuilding and design trends are helping households reduce the risk of pollutants inside.

HVAC systems are particularly crucial, and there are myriad opportunities for improvement. A mechanical ventilation heat recovery unit, for example, cleanses the air of dust, pollen and pollutants. At the same time, it removes moisture and moves air from room to room.

Ductless air conditioning systems are another option. These systems allow homeowners room-to-room control of temperatures. The lack of ductwork reduces the risk of inefficiency and air leaks. Plus, new filters can be treated with enzymes that break down allergens and neutralize odors.

Airtight insulation and efficient HVAC systems can reduce electricity expenditures and ensure the health of homeowners. Keep an eye on new technologies and inform your clients of opportunities to optimize air quality with energy efficient solutions. The long-term benefits are often worth the added expense in the building stage.

How Homebuilders Can Provide Eco-Friendly Options

When it comes to a new build, it’s crucial to talk about natural trends. Homeowners love the latest looks, but these design choices offer much more than beauty. Builders can expect a growing focus on sustainable sourcing, energy efficiency and health considerations in the year to come.

Arm yourself with an understanding of green building trends and get familiar with modern choices. Once the 2020 building season comes in full force, you’ll be ready to guide clients toward a sustainable living space.