Eco Homes future trends – predictions for 2013

oliver Environmental events, General, Materials, Technology/ Energy Saving, The Green Deal

With 2012 over and 2013 about to kick off, our thoughts here are turning to what’s going to be happening in the year ahead. So here are our Eco homes future predictions for 2013.

The Green Deal – green shoots

The Green Deal scheme becomes available to customers as of the 28th January 2013. But do you know what it entails?

The Green Deal is the government initiative designed to help business and home owners introduce more green technologies within their properties. Property owners are able to install these systems with no upfront fees, paying back costs through energy bills over a period of time. However the scheme is different from any other loan repayment plan because if you decide to move then the bills stay with the property where the savings are occurring, not with the bill payer.

Some of the energy saving improvements include insulation, heating, double glazing, draft proofing, solar panels and wind turbines.

Despite the scheme being a positive idea to help home owners make their properties energy efficient, the government aren’t exactly adopting a proactive technique to promote it. Did you know the green deal was launched back in October 2012 allowing 3 months for trades people to become Green Deal certified? £2.9million has been allowed for advertising until April 2013. That may sound like quite a lot but compare that to the total amount spent on promoting the digital switchover, a whopping £126.5million, and you can see it’s not very much at all!!

Marketing budgets aside, the Green deal is likely to spark interest in the benefit of home improvements to the comfort and cost of homes across the UK- which can only be a good thing, a start to creating Homes Fit for the Future.

Green it is – in colour schemes at least ……….

Materials and colours are always important to customers, those who wish to stay on trend will be keen to know that Pantone have released their predictions for the colour of the year 2013. As of the 1st January 2013 the ‘must have’ colour is Pantone 17-5641 Emerald Green. In 2012 the colour of the year was Tangerine Tango, a ‘inspiring colour to help give us a needed energy boost’. Next year the Emerald green will ‘enhance your sense of well-being by inspiring insight as well as promoting balance and harmony’, just what you need for a fresh start in the New Year, even if it isnt really going to turn your world upside down!

Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is a term we have been familiar with for a while now, and it’s soon to be something we are aware of in our everyday lives. Nanotechnology is being applied to construction materials, helping us to build a safer, cleaner and more efficient world to live in. By mixing the Nanotechnology particles with materials such as glass, concrete, wood, steel and finishings, a huge amount of beneficial effects are achieved. Wood and steel can be strengthened at much lower densities, glass and cement is becoming self-cleaning and can be fire-protective.

Some paints are also seeing the introduction of Nanotechnology to their make-up as a way of adding insulation and moisture repellence in the home. Nutshell Natural Paints are a great example, their Thermo Emulsion ‘blocks thermal transfer and protects agasint moisture making the paint water repelling.’

It’s going to be exciting to see what incredible new Nanotechnologies start to work their way into our spaces in 2013.

Connected homes

As some of you may be aware from previous articles, smart technologies are starting to have ever greater control on our homes. As we enter 2013 and are all trying to save some money after the Christmas hit, why not consider installing a Smart Meter into your home. British Gas have already installed over 500,000 smart meters in UK homes and businesses. Their meter works on a traffic light system making them really simple to understand, red means lots of energy is being used and green means your use is low. You can also view past energy use and your tariff information, putting you in control of exactly how and when you use your energy be it gas or electricity.

Smart Homes

As technologies develop, our homes are becoming increasingly more interactive. Whereas before we saw certain products as inanimate, such as thermostats, radiators and lights, we are now building closer relationships with them. Thanks to the help of smart technology development we can now control a large percentage of our home without even being there. Smart phone apps such as those from British Gas , Honeywell and LightwaveRF allow you to control your lighting and central heating via your phone wherever you are.

Climate Weirding

‘Climate weirding’ is taking over from ‘Global Warming’ as extreme weather conditions are changing the ways in which we live. As we are all aware the weather is changing drastically, having seen the driest spring in over a century followed closely by both summer and autumn under water. Future predictions from the Met Office show that weather is likely to consist of more frequent, colder, drier winters and wetter summers for 10 – 20 years, but in contrast to that, ‘longer term we will see a trend to drier summers. . . ‘

The following graph shows just how extreme the weather conditions in the UK have been throughout 2012. The first 3 months show a possible drought giving way to huge levels of rainfall almost monthly after that with the likelihood of the continuing trend into 2013.

We are becoming more aware of global weirding as increasing amounts of people are preparing to storm proof their  homes over the following months. Is 2013 the year to adapt our homes preparing for the climate of the future?

Share and Share alike

In a world where things are becoming more expensive and natural produce stocks are decreasing why not make 2013 a year to try sharing more – be it products, skills, car journeys or even knowledge. Why spend money if you can share goods with others? There are some great sites out there to help you link with your community and share items, some of these are; Ecomodo, The People Who Share and Freegle among many others.

So there we go. It seems as if our homes are going to become better connected – better connected to the things we use, the resources we use, the weather outside and even the neighbours and communities that live beyond our front door. The impact? That we start to live smarter  – using less, saving more, getting more in touch with things and people, and to me that certainly seems like a better way to be for 2013.