No one knows better than home designers what people want in a dwelling. Their clients are the voice of residential real estate consumers and what they are asking for these days is not surprising considering the rising cost of utility bills and other everyday commodities. People want to save money wherever they can – at the grocery market, at the gas pump, and especially at home.
Architects are the frontline for creating “dream homes” and they can see the tables are turning on overly customized floor plans, unnecessary square footage and specialty spaces outfitted for a singular purpose. But more important than what the trend is moving away from is where it’s moving to – energy efficiency. Hands down energy savings is what people ask for most in new home designs, according to the American Institute of Architects. The demand is clearly a product of our environment (which is shifting towards a “save our environment” stance). Whether they are drawing up plans for a downtown condo or suburban house, architects have seen the same swing in values as homeowners look for ways to cut monthly expenses and reduce energy use.
Now regularly requested features in new home construction include dual-pane low-e windows, extra insulation, low-flow toilets, water conserving appliances, compact fluorescent light bulbs with automatic controls, and every ENERGY STAR product you can think of. In addition to being energy efficient, these alternative elements are good for conserving resources and reducing the negative impact on the ecosystem.