After being rejected for years as being inaccessible or too extreme, sustainable development and green architecture are now a priority in the design of luxury homes and high-end renovation plans.
On January 14, the State of Luxury Real Estate eConference was held, during which several architects explained why luxury and design excellence should not be at the expense of sustainability.
As ecology becomes more and more important in our societies and in consumer habits, these green ambitions are shared by architects, who are studying the latest innovations in sustainability in order to best respond to these new market expectations.
“A few years ago, green architecture was more extreme,” says Jennifer Hoppel, president of Burdge Architects in Malibu. “Since then, we’ve gained a much better understanding of the impact we can have while ensuring that luxury is at the forefront”.
The trend is green
Many architects report a clear progression in eco-responsible behavior among their clients. “We’ve made real progress in educating our clients,” said Douglas Burdge, principal of Burdge Architects in Malibu. “Sustainability is the topic of conversation, whether or not one is in a luxury situation”.
Consumers now refuse to live in homes that release toxic gases or chemicals into the air. Instead, most customers in the market are looking for solar panels, induction stoves, and improved energy efficiency.
“The kind of awareness you see with organic food is an awareness that has also come to the building industry,” Hoppel said.
The design of new luxury homes is tending more and more towards the boutique hotel model, with a full range of wellness facilities, from swimming pools and saunas to state-of-the-art gyms.
A contemporary Pacific home designed by Burdge Architects. © Burdge Architects
To meet these green architectural ambitions, architecture firms rely on energy consultants to advise on sustainability improvements, for example with questions on the use of recycled steel or the traditional electrification of a house.
Operating in California sets Burdge Architects apart, as the state has energy codes that set higher standards than the rest of the country. In fact, in accordance with the state’s Section 24 restrictions, the company must pre-wire for solar energy, and mandatory solar panels are currently under consideration.
Among the new environmental improvements requested by customers, solar panels, separate generators for diesel and propane in the event of a power failure, Zehnder systems to improve ventilation, and any other advances towards carbon neutrality are expressly sought.
Burdge Architects worked with clients in the city of Santa Monica, which has a reputation as an environmentally responsible city, to install a solar panel ramp on the roof. The firm then arranged the panels so that their solar use was inseparable from traditional roofing materials.
More and more luxury homes are starting to integrate solar energy. © Christie’s International
“We didn’t compromise what we did as luxury architects on this project, we simply integrated green sustainability into all of this,” Hoppel said. “It proved to us that you can do anything green by choosing the right materials and the right consultants to make the right decisions”.
Architects say that designing environmentally friendly homes is just as luxurious, more efficient, and easier to market.
A trend that continues to grow, and promises to continue.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated containment, people are spending more time at home, choosing to invest in renovations to make their homes more modern. Today, interest in sustainable development has become so widespread that adopting green architecture in a home significantly increases its value.
“Your home becomes a high-end product that you can sell more quickly and easily and for which you can ask for more money because it will be appreciated,” said Burdge.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ “Sustainability 2019 Report“, 59 percent of agents and brokers noted that home buyers were very or somewhat interested in sustainability. This sensitivity to sustainability is largely among younger buyers, who are interested in green features, not only to save energy but also to respond to a new, more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Read also > LUXURY PERFUMERY SECTOR FOLLOWS THE GREEN TREND
Featured photo: © Burdge Architects [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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