In housing, there is currently a big focus on “green” building, which means the developments or structures meet certain standards involving energy efficiency, design, and materials. Residents’ demand for lower energy bills and a smaller footprint (as far as waste, and even space) has made propelled the green building market. When a building is LEED certified, it means it has meet the requirements of the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. LEED certification has become an industry standard for green building, so many developers strive to meet the criteria. Some developers are taking green building a step further, and providing residents with what they say is the future of green housing.
As it always has been the case with real estate, location is key when it comes to green housing. As more and more people are choosing walking and biking over driving, green developments focus on a location that allows linkages and “connectability” to other parts of the city and its transportation systems. Some developers are even incorporating bikeshares, or providing their residents with free bikes, helmets, and baskets as an amenity.
Open green spaces have always been an important aspect of city and community, so many green housing developments are incorporating garden plots, pet parks, and community green spaces. To encourage economy of space, rooftops have become a great location for many of these features. In addition to reducing the development’s “footprint”, rooftop green spaces also serve as insulation to decrease energy bills, and are a cooler alternative to the typical, hot, reflective roof surface which contributes to the heat island effect.
Many green developments are striving to provide their residents with all the resources they need to live, work, and play within the immediate vicinity of the development. For some developers, this means offering free or discounted rent to business their residents want – coffee shops, restaurants, and even gyms like Crossfit which have gathered a huge and devout following. In large residential housing developments, the space for these amenities are often built right into the plan.
Since smaller often means more efficient, many developers are reducing the square footage of their units in favor of providing these additional amenities. The market seems to indicate that more and more people are preferring smaller, more manageable and efficient living quarters that provide access to the city and its attractions.
How do you feel about the future of green housing? Would you trade square footage for more amenities and lower energy bills? What if you were unmarried, single, or looking for more opportunities? What if you were older, retired, and wanting more community support?
Examples of new green housing developments: