Sustainable housing can be defined as housing that uses less land and resources to build and maintain. Uses less energy, water and materials to operate, and holds its value through durability and reduced dependence on public utilities.
Some of the features that should be included in sustainable housing are:
• Compact land use and site planning.
• Modest sized units with multi-use spaces.
• Design for future adaptability and handicapped access.
• Passive solar design and active solar energy equipment.
• Resource-efficient materials such as engineered wood and recycled-content materials.
• Certified, sustainably harvested wood.
• Advanced framing and construction waste recycling.
• Energy-efficient envelope and equipment, exceeding energy code standards.
• Highly weather resistant roofing, cladding and exterior wall and window systems.
• Highly durable and low-maintenance interior finishes and details.
• Water conserving fixtures, rainwater collection and water recycling.
• Drought and pest resistant garden and landscape areas.
I believe that there is growing interest in sustainable features, particularly those that reduce the cost of ownership and maintenance. Though some features will cost more, we are investing in paybacks and the added future value that sustainability brings.