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2010 Predictions: Green Building Trends
by Katy Purviance on 01/19/10 @ 11:40:34 pm
Categories: Observations | 461 words | 1056 views

The editor over at Natural Home Magazine, Robyn Griggs Lawrence, has some green building predictions for 2010.

Here’s her Top Three:

Green Building Trend 1: Modular will be the new straw bale.
At the turn of the century, straw bale was a popular dream-house material. (People purchased a lot of books and magazines about straw bale homes and built a decent number of straw bale homes.) Now, prefab homes are the rage—and unlike straw bale, they’re pretty easy to build. Prefab home manufacturers have popped up across the country, and they’re building affordable, stylish, environmentally friendly homes. Clayton Homes’ iHouse, backed by billionaire investor Warren Buffet, provides 723 hip-looking square feet, complete with solar panels, tankless water heaters and bamboo floors. Start dreaming.

Um. Maybe. Probably. But you know what would be totally awesome? If new straw bale construction could be the new straw bale. I mean, have you ever experienced how…good it feels inside of a straw bale home versus how…eh *shrug* it feels inside of even a top-of-the-line modular home. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no comparison.

Green Building Trend 2: Green remodeling will hang tough in a tough economy.
This year homeowners will capitalize on 2009’s buzz about energy efficiency. Green remodels will be good business in 2010 as the Obama Administration continues to promote energy efficiency and clean energy. Now, more than ever, it pays for taxpayers to improve their homes’ energy efficiency. Market research firm SBI predicts the U.S. home energy renovation market will grow about 15 percent per year until it reaches $35 billion in 2013. Energy-efficient remodeling and renovating is a bright spot in the still-struggling construction business, SBI says.

I hope so. But I wonder what, if any, government incentive programs will be put into place so that the huddled masses yearning to breathe free can get some love.

Green Building Trend 3: We’ll see a lot more “green” building products, and we’ll need to ask more questions.
NextGen Research predicts that the global market for green building materials will grow 5 percent per year until it reaches $571 billion in 2013. That growth will trigger innovations in green building technology—and some who just want to get in on the gold rush. On the upside, green products will look and perform better, and designers’ creativity won’t be limited by finite resources. But buyer beware: It pays to investigate a company’s green claims before investing. Third-party certification will also take on more importance in the coming year.

Dude, I totally agree here. When I went to GreenBuild 2008 in Boston, I saw so much greenwashing it’d make your head spin. I was like, “All you did was add the word “green” to your off-gassing petroleum product! Bastards!”

Want more predictions? You know you do.

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