Houses of 2020 will be all about energy

April 26, 2010 By Wendy Koch

The American house of 2020 will likely be smaller, smarter, more urban and efficient.

It might not look like a space-age Jetsons set, but just as iPhones and Google have revolutionized personal computing, technology will boost home IQ.

More houses will have energy meters that track power usage and program appliances to run when electric rates are lowest.

Houses also will waste less energy because they'll have better insulation and windows.

The of the future will be built significantly "tighter," says Nate Kredich of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Builders already are including basic features such as programmable thermostats, found a January survey by the National Association of Home Builders. "It's not rocket science, but it helps control costs," says NAHB's Stephen Mellmen. "Affordability is driving these decisions."

Perhaps the most obvious change will be home size. Of builders surveyed, 96 percent said they plan to build smaller. The trend began with upscale buyers before the recession and has intensified, says Kermit Baker of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies.

A new single-family U.S. house averaged 2,373 square feet last year, down from 2,507 in 2007, according to Census Bureau data.

Production builders such as Pulte are reducing the average size of their new models and offering more eco-features such as solar panels. KB Homes is now offering pre-wiring for electric vehicle charging stations.

A decade ago, Kredich says, low VOC (volatile organic compound) house paints were pricey, but costs have come down.

"We can expect to see the same phenomenon in categories such as photovoltaic (solar) technology, where costs to date have been largely prohibitive," he says.

Alex Wilson, executive editor of BuildingGreen, a Vermont-based company that publishes books and an online newsletter, expects lower prices and improved performance to make solar water heaters and rooftop panels "very common" by 2020, used in at least 30 percent of new houses. Other changes he sees:

• SMART GROWTH. More houses and apartments will be built in areas close to public transit, walkways and bike paths.

The Environmental Protection Agency says house-building permits more than doubled since 2000 in the downtowns and close-in suburbs of 26 of the nation's largest metro areas.

• LED LIGHTING. This will gain market share but is still costlier than compact fluorescent.

• DUCTLESS HEATING. Geothermal heat pumps will be replaced by lower-cost, ductless "mini-split" air-source heat pumps, predicts Wilson. He says ductless technology is improving, and while most manufacturers are now Japanese, more U.S. firms will move into the market.

• EFFICIENT WINDOWS. Triple-glazed, low-emissive windows will become common, accounting for up to a third of sales in colder climates. It also will become common to "tune" windows, Wilson says, by using different glass on a home's south side than on its east or west.

Explore further: The future of solar-powered houses is clear


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1 / 5 (1) Apr 26, 2010
Actually they wont be. the reason is very simple, the people who want such houses, think that socialism is how you get them. however, its the high wealth of capitalists that allow them the LUXURY of CHOICE to spend more to achieve such goals (and in so doing economize them through scale).

the most polluted places on earth are under socialist states as those states have the freedom to not care, and to not need to waste time or money or resources on the luxury of low pollution alternatives.

before one starts to saw, one should look upon the branch one is sitting on and calculate whether or not your idea will support you. conflicting ideas tend to make even the best of goals irrational.

energy efficient homes and anti earthquake homes, and so on and so forth are big time luxuries. watch 4 episodes of holmes on holmes and note it takes a quarter million to fix a standard home up right.

might as well design self running unicorn farms with the empty headed capacity of our elites
5 / 5 (1) Apr 26, 2010
ArtflDgr: India isn't socialist, and it's darned polluted (heavy metals in every waterway, mountains of garbage everywhere, literally feces being left in the streets... it's gross). Saying "China is polluted, and therefore socialism causes pollution" is a statement fraught with logical fallacies.

In reality both communism and capitalism are too flawed to function. Communism assumes that humans aren't greedy, while capitalism assumes that humans act in *long term* self-interest, when they really act in *short term* self-interest... which is a much bigger difference than it seems. If humans acted in long term self-interest we'd never have stock market crashes.

Right now we only have 2 economic systems that "work", for a given value of the word work: feudalism and mild socialism (hybrid communism and capitalism, attempting to minimize the flaws of both).

Eventually we'll come up with a real economic system that actually, you know, works, but that hasn't happened yet.
1 / 5 (1) May 21, 2010
humans work at both long term and short term

ever see a cathedral? know how long it taked to build?

since communism and its fast utopia plan, we have not been able to build such as much.

but even in america, now, there is such a cathedral being built, and it wont be finished for at least another 100 years.

and what you refer to as capitalism, is mostly mercantalism, and fascism... (but i can tell you dont know your history and are a product of colectivist education. and if you deny that you prove my point, unless you can show otherwise)

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