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AIA’s Latest Home Design Trends Survey Shows Need for Green Building

The American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) latest Home Design Trends Survey, released in August, shows that Americans building homes in today’s economic environment are chiefly concerned with affordability and energy efficiency in their living spaces, incorporating both smaller floor plans and “green” techniques in their design criteria.

Denver custom homebuilder Spencer Chase, founder of Chase Custom homes, is keenly aware of new home design trends and maintains a stable of consulting architects, engineers, construction companies and subcontractors to deliver the designs and building practices to insure long-term sustainability and economies in building new homes.

“Just in the last few years tastes have changed in the types of homes people want to build, and we are constantly monitoring the trends with design and building professionals to deliver the product people desire for today and for years-long sustainable living,” says Chase. “The biggest developments we see are: 1) the McMansion craze is over; people want smaller but more innovative living spaces; and 2), the demand for ‘green’ amenities is on the rise, from building with recycled materials and low impact building practices, to building in energy efficiencies like passive and active solar, energy efficient fixtures and appliances, water-saving plumbing and devices, even more sustainable landscaping.”

The AIA Design Home Trends Survey, which is compiled from responses from its national professional architect members, noted that some other big changes are in store for the homes of the future. For instance, the desire for such special-interest rooms as media centers and home theaters, exercise and fitness rooms, hobby and game centers, home workshops, and wings for kids or guests are decidedly on the decline in the latest new-home designs. On the other hand, the biggest home amenity on the rise is the home office, perhaps reflecting an economic trend of telecommuting or working from home, along with such spaces as outdoor living areas and mud rooms.

However, in addition to a general trend toward smaller homes, the AIA survey showed home building clients were highly interested in energy efficiencies, low maintenance, synthetic materials, recycled materials, and water saving techniques and fixtures, high among them tankless hot water heaters. In addition, these home buyers was also interested in such amenities as energy management systems, solar applications, geothermal systems for cooling and heating, wireless systems, back-up power generations, and water reclamation systems.

“At Chase Custom Homes we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the latest trends in home building, including ‘green’ building techniques, because we create each of our homes, each job, from square-one, drawing in the exact expertise the home owner desires,” says Spencer Chase. “We can build a fully green home, with certified architects, builders, subcontractors and materials right from the start, or we can incorporate as much ‘green’ as the client desires.”

The Chase Custom Homes advantage is that the company isn’t beset with certain set of players, but rather constructs a team of experts on each and every job to meet the specifics and desires of each client. Founder Chase has extensive experience is building custom and near-custom homes with some of the nation’s premier homebuilding companies, as well as a long background in international banking and finance. For each new home the company builds, every aspect of the job, from the architect and engineer, to the construction firm and subcontractors, and right down to the specific building materials and fixtures, is planned out in advance, in detail. Every aspect is bid out to a number of service providers, not only to find the lowest cost, but also to insure the highest expertise in that building arena. Chase prepares an exhaustive Bid Book which details every single aspect of the job, shares it the client and all of the contractors, and it serves as a guarantee for both cost and time delivery.

For “green” home building, Chase recommends that people looking to build their dream house consider the following:

  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified architect with specific experience designing the type of home desired and in the same locality. Chase maintains an open relationship with scores of local qualified architects.
  • Solar applications, both for generating electricity (photovoltaic systems) and for hot water heating. Until the end of 2016 many of these systems qualify for federal tax credits and utility rebates that can save as much as 80% of the installed costs, not to mention savings on monthly electric bills.
  • Synthetic ,recycled and sustainable building materials, such as recycled plastic decking for porches, reclaimed woods, and virgin wood from certified sustainable forests.
  • Sustainable landscaping, including xeriscaping, designed from the start to minimize water usage.
  • EnergyStar and energy saving appliances and fixtures throughout the home; many of these devices, such as refrigerators, freezers, AC units, furnaces and toilets, qualify for certain federal and state tax credits and utility rebates that lower costs.


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