2010 Predictions: Green Building Trends

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It’s self-serving to suggest that the topics we’ve been covering in Natural Home for a decade will emerge as important green building trends in 2010. But all the experts agree: This is the year when everyone will want a green, energy-efficient home. Insulation is sexy. President Obama said so.

Here’s the green building trends we think will happen in 2010.

Green Building Trend 1: Modular will be the new straw bale. 

ihouse exterior
The i-house includes ample natural light and outdoor living spaces. Photo Courtesy Clayton Homes. 

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.

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.

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.

What do you think? Are we overly optimistic? Right on track? Or just predictable? Leave me a comment in the comment section.

Want to read more 2010 predictions? Check out our lifestyle predictionsinterior design predictions and our energy-efficient homes predictions.