5 Eco-Friendly Home Design Trends to Watch for in 2020


Home design and renovation can create major negative impacts on the environment. Building homes and redesigning them creates waste and emits harsh chemicals into the environment in a number of ways. These effects are irreversible. What are some solutions to this major issue?  The answer is innovation in home design.

As people are beginning to become more environmentally aware, builders all over the world are starting to adapt different environmentally friendly ways to create beautiful, livable homes that are not detrimental to the environment. Designers are also striving to create aspects of the home that will be practical and attractive while also being kind to the environment. Custom home builders in New Jersey pointed out, "The rise in the desire for green homes is greatly impacting the design aspect of custom home building. People are turning towards sustainable homes rather than luxury [homes]; this is a significant trend that is emerging and is likely to keep growing." 

Here are some of the most popular eco-friendly home designs to watch for in the new year:

1. Smart Homes

5 Eco-Friendly Home Design Trends to Watch for in 2020

Smart homes are homes that incorporate multiple smart devices that allow for the home to be energy efficient. This green technological innovation is appearing in almost all new home designs because it is environmentally savvy while also adding an aspect of convenience to people's lives. Smart homes allow for devices to connect to a phone, computer, or tablet from remote areas and give the homeowner the ability to control the device(s) from remote areas. This is extremely environmentally friendly because it allows the homeowner to turn off or turn down devices when he or she isn't home or using them. The most popular smart device design trends include:

  • Smart Thermostats: The homeowner will be able to conserve energy that would otherwise be used to heat or cool a home by turning the temperature up or down from a mobile device. No energy will be wasted running heating or cooling systems when unnecessary.
  • Smart Irrigation and Sprinkler Systems: Irrigation can be controlled from any device and can be manipulated depending on the weather and the season. Current irrigation and sprinkler systems often only run on a timer and will water landscapes when they don't need to, wasting vast amounts of water.
  • Smart Lighting: Lighting can be controlled through an app that will only turn light on when need be.  This is especially beneficial for outdoor lighting.

2. Living Walls and Roofs

5 Eco-Friendly Home Design Trends to Watch for in 2020

Living walls and roofs are walls and roofs that feature plants and other living vegetation such as grasses and flowers. The point of living walls and roofs is to improve air quality by filtering toxins out of the air. This home design trend is aesthetically pleasing as well as beneficial.

  • Living Walls - Living wall systems can work on almost any wall surface; they provide a healthy growing environment for plants inside of a home. This is a great eco-friendly home design trend to watch for because not only does it purify the air, it also reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and humidifies the air which will provide health benefits as well as environmental benefits. 
  • Green Roofs - A green roof is made of a water-retaining layer underneath layers of plants and vegetation. Green roofs are great ways to purify the air in a home while also adding an aesthetic value that sets this home design apart from other home designs.

3. Bamboo Hardwood

5 Eco-Friendly Home Design Trends to Watch for in 2020

Image Credit: Pazzo4562 via Wikimedia Commons

Bamboo is one of the up and coming trends in floor covering because of how eco-friendly it is. Bamboo, though technically a grass, is a sustainable material that when chopped down, has very little impact on the environment around it. Bamboo is a highly renewable source because it regenerates itself from the root and grows quickly. Similarly, bamboo is harvested gently by hand rather than machines so no gases will be emitted in the environment upon collecting the bamboo. 

Bamboo is more durable than most hardwood so, in addition to being eco-friendly, it is a design choice that features longevity. Bamboo is also extremely unique in appearance which adds to why it is also growing in popularity. Coming in multiple colors and styles, bamboo has a very timeless look. 

4. Tiny Homes

5 Eco-Friendly Home Design Trends to Watch for in 2020

California Dreamin' by Sol Haus Design

Tiny homes are popping up everywhere. These are about 185-400 square feet and use very little energy. The point of tiny homes is to create a life of simplicity without excess goods and materials. Some of the major environmental benefits of tiny homes are:

  • Usually, tiny homes use solar energy which turns the sun's heat into energy rather than using electricity to create light
  • Smaller spaces mean less use of appliances that consume energy
  • Fewer trees have to be cut down to make space for the home
  • Fewer materials and machines/fuels will be used in the building process

These small houses are becoming more and more popular as people, specifically millennials, are attempting to reduce their carbon footprint by condensing their living spaces as well as their belongings in their living space. Tiny homes do just that. 

5. Prefabricated Homes

5 Eco-Friendly Home Design Trends to Watch for in 2020

MINIMOD Catucaba by MAPA

Also referred to as prefab homes, these houses are homes that are created off-site; meaning, the home is usually built in a factory, rather than on a property. These homes generally create less environmental consequences. Prefabricated homes are beneficial to the environment because of the minimal amounts of waste they create as well as their durability.

Prefabricated homes are manufactured in a factory-type setting and are mass-produced, so many can be created at once. The building process is more efficient because materials can be used as needed, creating less waste. Similarly, fewer machines and fuel will be used, especially because leftover materials can be easily reused in another project. 

This trend in home design is also extremely durable so areas of the home will not have to be replaced often, creating less waste.

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Comments (2)

robert, Architect • 2020

Excellent designs. Great work thank you

MLM Improvements, Commercial Builder/Developer • 2020

Thanks for sharing such a great information, it is really helpful. Keep up the work.