Benefits of a Modern Home Design
When considering 21st century home construction there are quite a few reasons to choose the benefits of a modern home design. Space is hard to come by and expensive so maximizing every inch is of vital importance. Smart usage of space while minimizing waste while considering things like natural light and outdoor connections are at the heart of contemporary home design.
Modern Homes are energy efficient and environmentally friendly. New construction methods and materials such as better insulated windows and doors, energy efficient appliances and renewable energy sources all add up to a dollar for dollar superior home than a more traditional home design.
Below are our 5 benefits of choosing a contemporary home design.
Modern = An Eco Friendly Home
Perhaps the most important benefits of a modern home design is that they’re eco friendly. Contemporary “Green” home designs place a large emphasis on energy and environmental efficiency. Not being wasteful with materials, better insulation, using renewable energy, maximizing air flow to save on heating and cooling, smart home electrical systems and using more efficient appliances are just a few of the benefits of building modern. Maximizing and recycling energy while cutting waste wherever possible is always a goal. This includes water-saving indoor plumbing, energy efficient lighting and the use of building materials that are sustainable and recycled. These, combined with good natural light levels and efficient airflow, are major aspects of a home design that can save you money and help the environment.
- Clean air flow
- Up to 30% less material waste
- Up to 50% less water usage
- Up to 50% less electricity usage
- Up to 40% lower heating and cooling costs
Modern home floor plans do not utilize space haphazardly. Using space as efficiently as possible while minimizing waste is at the heart of modern home design and construction. The flow of the home from room to room is taken into consideration at the very beginning of the design phase and taken into consideration right up until completion. Contemporary home plans seek a perfect harmony between space and overall home size. One comment we always get from clients after living in a modern designed home is that it feels much bigger than it actually is. That’s because in a typical home 30% – 40% of the square footage is wasted in rooms that don’t flow, rooms that aren’t used or are too big and hallways that make a home hard to navigate.
Within the many benefits of a modern home design is living space that’s never limited to indoor rooms. In Modern homes’ living space is designed specifically to extend and become a part of the surrounding environment. This means taking into account nearby homes, nature and city zoning laws. A good contemporary home design will consider space both in and around the house and the local environment. The ideal home would flow harmoniously from indoor to outdoor living.
Oodles of Light
Contemporary home design gives a great deal of attention to natural light. Including not only large windows facing the south side of the house, but also smaller windows on multiple sides of a room to bring in a natural light level that provides enough light to see without compromising privacy or brightness. Taking into consideration the usage of each room, the direction of the home in relation to the suns path and the time of day you’ll most likely be in each room are vital when designing the home.
Maximize natural light can cut down on energy costs during the winter months by allowing the suns rays to heat the home during the day. Better R values for windows also cuts down on heating costs by minimizing heat loss.
Aesthetically Pleasing Design – Maximizing Flow
Modern homes that really shine are those that maintain a balance between design, structural efficiency and overall aesthetic value. Featuring large, bold exterior elements, simple shallow sloped shed or flat roof lines, mixtures of natural wood, stone, metal and glass elements, and sharp, clean lines. A goal of contemporary home design is to integrate aesthetically pleasing aspects into the overall design while minimizing unnecessary additions. Remember: you’ll be living in, and looking at, your home for many years. Why not make it not only a functional masterpiece but also an eye pleasing experience?
Benefits of a modern home design aren’t necessarily reliant on symmetry or other old fashioned design conventions. Leaving plenty of room for customization and future expansion is taken into consideration throughout the design and construction phases. With modern house plans, there’s no need to overburden your home with rooms or features you don’t require. Maximizing flow for both you and your energy usage while building only what you need is always at the top of the list when designing your modern home. Customize everything until you have the perfect design.
Some Additional Benefits of a Modern Home Design
One of the biggest revolutions in modern home design was in the kitchen. By moving the kitchen into the open living space, it becomes a part of daily life, and the heart of the home. Rooms flow through the kitchen not too it through the wasted space of hallways and old fashioned segmented home design. Moreover, since they’re so visible, modern kitchens feature lots of storage and state-of-the-art equipment. They’re also beautiful to look at and become a true living space rather than just a room to cook in.
Modern home design is meant to maximize space and flow from area to area so you never feel cramped. Walking from room to room should feel natural and effortless without having to navigate hallways. You shouldn’t have to ask where’s the kitchen or living room feeling lost when entering an unfamiliar home. A modern design should make you feel at home, even when entering the space for the first time. Plus, the airier a home is, the easier it is for natural light to illuminate and heat it.It makes a home more energy efficient and cuts down on wasted space.
The simplicity of an open floor plan means the space can be adjusted how you see fit. Room can easily be transformed limited only by your imagination and simply moving some furniture. Some things will of course be fixed like a kitchen or bathroom but everything else can be adjusted to fit your ever changing taste and lifestyle.
Just as the open plan gives you more flexibility, it also gives you more room to show off your individual style. The true charm of a Modern Home is all in the details. The art, furniture, colors and personal touches. A Modern home makes a bold statement and becomes a true reflection of it’s owner.
Modern home construction promotes space and openness. The vertical dimension of a room can set a sophisticated tone for the entire residence. One of the many benefits from this major gift of space is allowing as much natural light in as possible through tall windows and doors. Let your imagination run loose and come up with the perfect design for a house with royal interiors.
Creative Storage Space
There is a major trend towards hiding day to day objects behind modern designed storage units. Modern homes are equipped with many ingenious ways to constantly keep the house looking spotless. Floor to ceiling closets in the bedrooms, classy wooden drawers in the bathroom, built in flush mounted clean designs not available decades back. And with the help of clever shelving and sliding doors, you can keep everything in perfect order and out of sight.
Connection to outdoor living
Today most Modern homes utilize an open floor plan to create harmony between indoor and outdoor spaces. Creating the feel of one large and connected space by eliminating barriers and using floor to ceiling glass maximizing flow from indoor to out. Outdoor living also drastically increases the functional space of your home, especially when entertaining in the warm spring and summer months.
If you have children or plan to in the near future, having an open floor plan allows you to keep a close eye on them wherever they are. Regardless if you’re cooking dinner in the kitchen or reading in the living room, you can supervise your children who are playing outside or in a nearby room.
Modern home designs create homes with some of the most beautiful views possible. Because of the typical high ceiling and walls of glass you can truly enjoy any view at it’s maximum potential.
There is typically a 15-20% premium for new homes vs. existing homes, according to Trulia; furthermore, green homes have a 9% premium vs. typical homes, according to a study by UC Berkeley.
Zero Net Energy
Commonly referred to as ZNE. Achieving Zero Net Energy home is a building that produces the same amount of renewable energy onsite as it consumes. This is measured in a 1-year term. The following building and design strategies will provide insight into how your home can become ZNE.
The following can be applied to your home and will begin during the design phase of the process. Gambrick is offering ZNE packages tailored specifically to projects utilizing some or all of these strategies depending on the site and design.
- Adding insulation to the ceiling has the largest impact on the energy consumed in a home.
- Avoiding thermal bridging through either double stud walls, rigid foam wrap or a combination is another important strategy.
- Use surface mounted lights on the ceilings exposed to the outdoors. The nature of heat transfer reduces an otherwise well insulated R38 ceiling considerably with a small amount of can lights that do not allow for a proper amount of insulation above the light. An example of this is if you have a 1000 sq ft roof with R-38 and then have an attic door that is 10 sq ft that is not insulated so R-1 your resulting average roof R value is only 27.7.
- Tight Construction
- Blower door tests measure the amount of air that escapes a building at a standard 50 Pascals of pressure. In order to achieve a very tight envelope specially formulated tape is commonly used to seal the seams of the plywood during framing.
- Another strategy is to use expanding foam sprayed in a thin layer in the wall cavity that is then blown full of fiberglass. The thin layer of foam seals the airflow and the fiberglass keeps this option at a reasonable price point, this is commonly referred to as ‘flash and fill’.
- Fresh air
- Recommended at a rate of .35 air changes per hour, meaning that all of the air in your house is replaced approximately every 3 hours. If you live in a cold or a hot climate this essentially means that you are heating or cooling the outdoors. To alleviate the lost energy we use a heat recovery ventilator, HRV or ERV depending on your climate. This mechanism has a heat exchanger that recovers the heat or cold from the exiting air and transfers it to the fresh incoming air.
- In addition to having fresh air it is important to pay attention to the contents of the materials used, for this reason Method Homes uses plywood sheathing and only materials that have NAUF, no added urea formaldehyde as well as low and no VOC adhesives and paints.
- Windows and Doors are an integral part of the thermal envelope and it is therefore important to incorporate high performance options.
- Windows are measured with the inverse of the walls R value called U values, the lower the U value the higher the R value and the better insulated the door or window is.
- It is recommended that windows and doors have a .20 U value or less.
- Another strategy is to incorporate windows with varying solar heat gain coefficients, SHGC, depending on the orientation and the energy modeling.
- Passive solar design
- This strategy incorporates a number of the above mentioned techniques into a comprehensive whole. This can best be analyzed and fine-tuned with an energy modeling software such as Energy Plus.
- This process will illuminate the most cost effective strategies and give overall estimated energy consumption. Some items that will be looked at include; building orientation, thermal mass, shading and solar access among other things.
- High efficiency hot water heater.
- As the cost of solar electricity through PV panels has come down it is now more cost effective to use a high efficiency air source heat pump hot water heater rather than have a solar hot water panel installed on your roof, though some people may want this option.
- A heat recovery coil that surrounds the drain to the shower known as a GFX or Powerpipe recovers the heat from the drain and feeds back into the hot water tank.
- High efficiency heating and cooling system.
- A ductless mini split that for every watt consumed can produce 2.5-3 watts of heating or cooling, 250-300% efficient. Another efficient option is a heat pump for heating water for hydronic radiant heat; we utilize the Daikin Altherma system.
- High efficiency appliances and lighting
- From the refrigerator to the washer and dryer it is important to look for energy star ratings and the specific energy loads of each model.
- Lighting is best handled by an integrated approach using well placed windows and LED lighting.
- The final part to building a ZNE home is to install a photovoltaic solar (PV) array that can produce as much energy in a year that you will likely consume in a year. There are various methods to monitor the consumption and production of energy.
- Ultimately the success of a building reaching ZNE will depend on the home owner and the thoughtful decisions that affect the overall energy consumption.
There are numerous certifications that help to quantify different aspects of building a high performing home, from LEED to the living Building Challenge. We can work with you to achieve these certifications or we can simply incorporate various strategies as described above to build you a long lasting, healthy efficient home.
When building your new home, make sure to find out if the many benefits of a modern home design may be the right fit for you.