The beauty of eco-conscious home trends is that they are so versatile. Your goal is to be a better steward of natural resources? You want to reduce your carbon footprint? You want to minimize the impact you have on the planet – and your community? You’d love a gorgeous home that’s comfortable and convenient? These top trends can help you accomplish all of that… and more!

Top Eco-Conscious Home Trends

1. Not More: Better

When it comes to insulation, bigger is not better. Remember those giant bales of pink insulation? Yes, that fluffy, itchy, messy stuff? Not only is it a pain, it is not as efficient as other options.

Spray foam, by contrast, can save homeowners up to 20% a year on energy costs. Best news: This is a gift that keeps on giving. While other forms of insulation lose R-value over time, spray foam does not. This is another reason why bigger = better does not apply. Traditional blown or batt insulation with an R-value of 30 is not more effective than spray foam with an R-value of 20. Further, these options lose R-value over time. Bottom line: You may pay a bit more for better insulation initially, but you’ll enjoy cozy winters and cool summers for decades to come.

As technology and building science advance, there are many different, and more eco-friendly, solutions to consider, from spray foam to cellulose to mineral wool. Folks, insulation is not an afterthought; it is integral to your comfort – and to your savings year upon year.

2. It’s Getting Hot In Here! (Or Cool… Your Choice)

We can fluctuate between frigid cold and blazing heat – with a few temperate days mixed in here and there! Stay comfortable with high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. New AC models use 30% – 50% less energy to cool the same amount of space as those built in the 1970s. Even if your unit is a few years old, you could still save 20% – 40% on cooling costs.

For savings that’ll warm you right up, investing in a new furnace is a no-brainer. Today’s standard furnaces have a AFUE rating of between 60% – 80%; high-efficiency models start at 90%, and top models can achieve an incredible 97% efficiency. You will consume far less energy while maintaining your ideal inside environment.

3. The Eco-Conscious Way to Get Your To-Dos Done 

Need another excuse – uh, reason – to stop doing dishes by hand? An ultra-efficient dishwasher not only saves you time and effort, it saves water. Every minute you spend handwashing sends two gallons of water down the drain. Your dishwasher can use as little as 1 – 1.5 gallons per cycle. And this is just one appliance. Think of the benefits when you incorporate efficient refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, and other essential equipment. You save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize your carbon footprint, conserve resources (like water), and enhance the quality and comfort of your life. We call that a win-win.

4. A Tankless Job

Tankless water heaters work “on demand.” That is, they heat water as needed without using a storage tank. So, when you want a hot shower, you turn on the faucet, cold water flows through a heat exchanger, and an internal element heats it up for you. This way, you can sip energy rather than guzzling it.

Now, while you do not have to wait for a storage tank to refill, tankless systems do have a few caveats to keep in mind. Typically, you’ll have a flow rate of 2-5 gallons a minute (higher for gas-fired heaters). But depending on the size of your household and the demands for hot water, taking multiple showers, running the dishwasher and the washer, etc., can stretch the tank past its limits. You can always install two or more heaters, operate separate tankless water heaters for appliances, or use the tankless solution for remote bathrooms, hot tubs, boosters for appliances, and/or boosters for a solar water heating system.

Where there is a will, there’s a way, and if tankless works for you, your household can reduce its energy expenditure significantly.

5. Landscaping That Works With Nature

You may not realize it, but that emerald green lawn that stretches out your windows – and provides ample opportunities for backyard fun, gathering, entertaining, and relaxing – has a huge carbon footprint. Grass lawns are a big source of greenhouse gasses, ecosystem pollution, wasted water, and diminished biodiversity. Wondering where the bees and butterflies are? Looking for sustenance elsewhere because, while beautiful, many lawns may as well be a desert.

Work with nature, instead of against it. We promise: Installing native, drought-tolerant plants, minimizing or eliminating the need for irrigation, creating pollinator-friendly spaces, and implementing strategic hardscaping (e.g benches, outdoor kitchens, paths, water features, etc.) is not only a terrific way to “green up” your landscaping, the results will be stunning.

6. Go Geothermal?

Every household can take steps to incorporate more eco-conscious solutions, systems, technologies, and products. It may be worth exploring additional possibilities. Geothermal energy is a particularly exciting potential. Geothermal heat pumps are efficient and provide excellent heating/cooling capacity, using the power of the earth’s own heat.

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, significant federal tax credits are available for homeowners who purchase/install geothermal heat pumps. The Indiana Office of Energy & Defense Development also offers the Geothermal Heat Pump Residential Rebate Program to encourage folks to use this clean, sustainable, and efficient energy. During the winter, a GHP draws natural warmth from the ground into the home for heating; in the summer, it discharges heat into the ground for cooling. It doesn’t generate heat; it moves it. This means it requires a lot less energy.

Geothermal energy is full of potential – but is it right for your home? The biggest barrier for many people is the upfront cost. With rebates and tax credits, this is greatly reduced, and most see a return on their investment within a decade. But still, you may pay as much as 30% more than a traditional heating/cooling system.

Another potential obstacle is space. Geothermal may not be feasible in some locations, such as those with especially dense or rocky soil, or in lots that are not large enough to accommodate the required trenchwork (which will be hidden away underground). If you have the luxury of a large space, geothermal may help you make the very most of it.

7. Solar Solutions?

The sun generates enough energy in one hour to meet the electricity needs of every person on earth for one year. Incredible! If we can harvest even a fraction of that, it can help address the challenges we face with fossil fuels. As solar technology advances, more homes are benefitting from a reduced footprint, cheaper energy, and even rebates when they give back to the grid.

But as with any potential solution, there are also some downsides to consider. For one, options like Tesla’s solar roof are often cost-prohibitive at over $150,000. Even more accessible options may be frowned upon by your HOA. Indiana does have “solar access laws,” by which HOAs cannot stop you from installing solar – but they do allow them to impose “reasonable restrictions.” You may need to request permission, ensure all wiring is hidden, and/or gain approval for the design of your array.

Your Life, Your Solutions

There are myriad ways to incorporate eco-conscious home trends into your life – and to do so in a way that amplifies and enhances your comfort, convenience, and aesthetic. Talk to your team; bring your ideas. G&G will bring all of your dreams to life.