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green building Related Stories

Just as trends in interior design change from year to year, so do trends in exterior design, as people building new homes choose house plans to fit their evolving lifestyles. Here are some of the do's and don'ts - and overall trends - we've identified in modern house plans for today.

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Once the rage in the United States, concrete block / ICF home plans are back in today’s architectural landscape. Along with being energy-efficient, durable, and storm-resistant, concrete block house plans are comfortable and quiet – and they come in classic styles that appeal to today’s home seekers’ aesthetic.

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Buildings should look to the nature that surrounds them and partner with it, enhance it, in order to create spaces for human dwelling. Or so said American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. His Organic Architecture movement was (and is) all about combining form and function to create harmonious homes.

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Dreaming of going off the grid? You’re not alone. Conservative estimates put the number of American families living off-grid at 180,000 and that number is rising rapidly, especially after 2020. Here’s what to expect price and planning wise, including the top mistakes to avoid to save both money and legal trouble.

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Insulation is a critical aspect of home construction, but traditional materials are far from perfect. If a product could be affordable, environmentally friendly, and convenient to work with – and offer an unprecedented R-value – then it could corner the insulation market.

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Energy-efficient house plans are designed while considering the impact of the building materials on the environment by using natural resources, recycled materials, and new technologies – including building techniques – all while saving the homeowner money. These home plans are a win-win!

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Did you know that you can save on energy costs and ensure a bright home with lots of natural light by strategically planning your home’s position on an empty lot? Be smart about your home’s orientation and benefit from better temperatures, ideal lighting, and reduced costs.

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Flooring takes up a lot of the material in a new house, so it behooves you to make sure your not hurting the environment. We look at most popular eco choices: cork, bamboo, engineered wood, recycled (reclaimed) wood, recycled-glass tile, wool carpeting, linoleum, and polished concrete.

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Did you know that the sun’s infrared rays provide the most basic form of radiant heating? Adapted to the homes of the 21st century, radiant heat is a fascinating way to deliver heat effectively and ecologically to people and objects in a room. Here’s why this technology might make sense in your new home.

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Energy efficiency and eco-friendliness should be at the forefront of every homeowner's mind. But despite the shift to LED lighting and efficient HVAC systems, many homes are still lagging behind when it comes to their walls and insulation. Insulated Concrete Form construction may be the answer for your next home!

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Some materials have obvious natural insulating and temperature-regulating properties and excel at battling the weather, like brick or stone, but they are also very costly. A form of modern stucco – called Exterior Insulating and Finishing System (EIFS) – withstands the elements, is energy efficient, and not surprisingly, is growing in popularity.

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With the growing interest in eating organic fruits and vegetables, roof gardens are trending.

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The one-of-a-kind centerpiece of the International Builders Show - The New American Home 2017 – features net-zero energy design, accessibility, an open floor plan, a see-through fireplace, indoor-outdoor living spaces that highlight the lake, and more. Best of all, the home can be replicated anywhere – piece-by-piece or as a whole.

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Every year, the National Association of Home Builders creates a house to show off new trends. The 2016 New American Home doesn’t disappoint. With its open floor plan, outdoor living spaces, and integrated automation apps, the home can be adapted whole or piece-by-piece anywhere in the country or the world.

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Who doesn't love natural lighting and the way it can brighten up an entire home? Natural light is not just visually pleasing. When it comes to house design, it also saves on electricity bills. And if done right, saves on heating and cooling bills. Also known as passive solar design, harnessing natural light is by far the most effective and efficient way to use the sun's energy.

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Inside and out, the trend is toward the simple and sleek look – very modern with classic touches and accents. The design of the new American Home is relevant to today’s living and how we will live in the future.

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With a description like “Zero Energy Home,” can such a house’s design be exciting and attractive? The answer is yes. It’s rapidly rising in popularity because of the super-efficiency, green footprint, comfort, security, and healthy environment that it provides for families – and it can come in every size and architectural style.

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Now is the time to install solar panels at your home. Why? Prices are down because of government incentives; there are leasing arrangements and power purchase agreements that reduce or eliminate upfront costs; the technology is improving, some home centers have booths/kiosks touting solar electric installations; and more …

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