Homes are where people spend time with family and friends. Our lives are so stressful in the new wired world, that trends are now indicating people are re-evaluating lifestyles, and many actually seeking to transform their homes and gardens into a more blissful sanctuary that embraces nature, and better health. People are tuning to nature to find joy, and this trend is spilling into home plans.
Research reveals that gardening and nature are bringing many of us much joy amidst our wired lifestyles. People of all ages are also looking for nature inspired homes, and products like this home plan from The Plan Collection with 12 foot ceilings and sliding glass doors that feature nature prominently. (House Plan # 149-1837). Color palates are neutral, greens, blues and warm browns, with warm wood accents -- all of which reflect the outdoors. This desire to bring nature indoors is the result of people in our society seeing the need to slow down and pay more attention to health and well-being, as well as the environment.
In America, we are seeing a shift in where we are living -- seeking suburbia with connectivity and easy access to services, along with sustainable lifestyles. The forces of nature are also shaping many of the lifestyle choices that we are making for our homes, gardens and for ourselves. TrendWatching, an international research group, says that health and wellness are the primary reason people buy what they buy today. Herbs are the number one food in what is called the edibles category. Everyone is concerned about healthy soil and food sources, so many are turning to organic gardens for herbs and vegetables. Everyone is worried about water consumption, and people are developing living green walls and starting community gardens for fresh produce.
People’s homes are becoming smaller as baby boomers retire, move into smaller spaces, or back into the city, and young professionals are seeking green urbanization. With national concerns about our environment another hot topic among homeowners and builders alike are house plans for high performance. The proper construction techniques for building this type of home will assure that the home will use about 35 percent less energy than a similar non-high performance house and about 50 percent less energy than a similar existing home. High performance building a growing market as it helps promote clean energy. These homes use alternative energy; so the government provides state tax credits, rebates, and attractive incentives.
A high performance house plan not only reduces environmental impact, but it also promotes a sustainable living environment and is energy efficient, using less energy and helping to lower operating costs. These homes are comfortable and built to provide better air quality.
Other key highlights of the high performance elements involve:
-- Materials and water efficiencies
-- Indoor environmental quality
Some of the other components include:
-- HVAC systems
-- Flashed and sealed high efficiency windows
-- Solar energy
To build a truly high performance house, builders will want to take advantage of southern exposure on the rear of their home, with fewer penetrations on the north side. For other energy effencies, it is important to try to use roof overhangs and deep porches help reduce solar advances. Architects are advised not to over design foundations and waste concrete or wood, but rather to apply efficient framing techniques that reduce the load on cooling systems.
Another high performance home strategy that some people are opting for includes wind energy which is produced by smaller sized turbines that have been designed especially for backyard energy production. Much like solar energy, wind energy is climate-dependent so if the turbine is not turning, there is no wind, and a different energy source will be required. Home builders that are considering this option need to seriously look at the speed of the wind in their area as this is the single most important determining factor in whether wind power is the right solution. A 10-kilowatt turbine typically provides enough energy for a single family home. And unlike solar energy, wind turbines are built of out of moving parts that need regular maintenance.
The exterior of the same plan mentioned above from The Plan Collection is an ultra-modern house plan # 149-1837 which could be built as a high performance house plan. It embraces nature, with a lot of light and a great room, kitchen and dining areas. There are a number of new energy efficient technologies that can be considered such as mobile control for homes. Add smart grid appliances and your home of the future will be interconnected, master-controlled and wireless. A few of the new technologies in high performance house plans include eco-friendly toilets with a motion-activated seat and lid, and air dryer, and laser robot vacuums.
Visit The Plan Collection (www.theplancollection.com) for your next house plan, then get ready to relax and enjoy the money you save on energy and the fact that you and your family members can now say you are reducing the size of your environmental footprint.
(Sources:12th annual Garden Trends Report, Garden Media Group).