The Jetsons were onto something. A blend of futuristic technology with classic design principles (the show pulled a lot of inspiration from mid-century modern architecture) gave the ever-modern family all the earthy pleasures of home plus au courant innovations for the ultimate galactic abode.
For property investors and homeowners living on planet earth circa now, the similarities aren’t far off. Thank the Internet and sharing culture for incredibly inventive and customizable home features that are as entertaining as they are eco-wise. Here’s how to bring your home into the smart century.
Remote-Ready Mobile Apps
Transform your smartphone into a universal remote for your home by stocking it with leading eco apps. The best apps usually require pairing with a device that lives at home. Some have sensors to let you remotely control everything from the garage door to the coffee maker, and can auto-adjust temperature settings or control anything that gets plugged into a wall. You also have the option to manage your homes security system.
Green Building Certification
Since 2002 the Canada Green Building Council has enacted LEED building certifications to divert over 1.5 million tonnes of waste from landfills, save 12.8 billion litres of water per year, and eliminate 1,261,016 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. The certification is the gold standard (silver, gold, or platinum ratings, actually) in eco building and can greatly impact resale value. The rating systems consider site development, water saving, energy efficiency, materials, and indoor environmental quality when ranking homes.
Architects crafting green builds rely heavily on the sun’s cyclical passings to capitalize on seasonal heating and cooling efficiency. Some materials manufacturers have clued in and developed time-sensitive windows that change colour based on the direction of the sunlight, or sensory or timed shade installations to block and let in light at the most opportune moments.
Local Materials and Well-Incorporated Landscape
One of the most innovative things you can do is be aware of your analog building choices. Your local landscape may have much to offer in the way of Canadian material. Timber and BC Grizzly Rock limestone are popular building options that can help reduce your construction carbon footprint.
Additionally, respecting the native flora and old growth trees lends natural character to your property and shows that you’re living with the landscape instead of imposing on it. The innovative neighbourhood of Carraig Ridge just outside Calgary, AB, incorporates land conservation directly into the property purchase.
Reliable Radiant Heating
Thanks to the technology of radiant heating, surface heat from the exterior of the home can now be trapped and transferred into floors and walls, so not an ounce of the sun’s energy is wasted. The panels also take the clunk of radiators and whooshing of fan-based heating systems out of the picture, so you can relax in silence.
Solar and LED Lighting
From interior B.C. and southern Alberta to southern Manitoba and the prairie cities of Saskatchewan, sunlight is a readily available resource. Solar panels are an obvious installation in these areas and can help bring homes nearer to carbon neutrality. Elsewhere in the country, refined LED lighting is another easy step towards eco-proofing your conscious castle.
With more and more architects and builders embracing green building standards, it’s likely that these solutions will be incorporated into future homes. This will result in spaces as natural as the landscapes they complement.
Start your search for the perfect eco-friendly property with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s Eco-Friendly Living lifestyle gallery. This article was initially published July 17, 2017 and updated March 3rd, 2021.