Since the financial crash of 2008 one of the major changes that has taken place on the home building industry has been the rise of the green building in new construction. In 2011 the green segment of the market accounted for 17% of all construction projects with an economic impact of $17,000,000,000. In 2013 this rose to $87,000,000,000. Green buildings, also known as sustainable buildings, are designed to incorporate building processes and materials that are resource and energy efficient. Because of the long history of standard house design and construction methods, the new goal of going green requires the cooperation and feedback from not only the architects and engineers but also the end user at all stages of the building process.
The goals of more efficiency that are being demanded by consumers are being helped by the development of new technologies that complement current practices. Some of the new practices that are being implemented are more efficient use of water, energy and other resources. Other items of concern for builders are homeowner health and the reduction of waste and pollution in the building process.
One method that is being put into practice to achieve this is new construction using natural materials. One of the materials of choice that is being widely used is the straw bale. Straw is a material that is widely available and modestly priced. If you use straw bales as the material of choice in your home, after they are placed they can be sealed with plaster or adobe to help increase the bales structural integrity. Another common design is the Earth Ship. This housing unit uses discarded automobile and truck tires that are packed with earth. After they are packed the tires are then formed into the house shell, which can then be covered with adobe or plaster for additional structural integrity. Many of these Earth Ship homes also use plain dirt and grass for the roof structures. This type of structures emphasizes the green goal of using sustainable resources and reducing the environmental impact of standard construction techniques.
Although these types of structure can seem extreme to some, it is a viable subset of this whole movement. This movement has also had an impact on standard construction practices. New construction techniques may not embrace these types of materials but they have embraced and are utilizing more energy efficient electrical appliances, water and heating systems. One of the big shifts in this area is the use of appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, and HVAC systems that are Energy Star rated. Energy Star is a government organization and an Energy Star rating will give prospective buyers an insight into how the new construction ranks in terms of overall energy efficiency.