In a landscape of housing shortages, it’s no surprise that new apartments are going up. From restoring old buildings to new neighborhood development, each new home contributes to ensuring families find both modern and affordable housing. One of the leading priorities in 2023 apartment architecture is sustainable construction.
This is a twofold issue; both building in a sustainable way and creating homes that create sustainable lifestyles. Some methods reduce the carbon footprint of the construction itself, and some help the building to use fewer resources over decades of operation. What can your development do to meet the trends and make new apartments sustainable inside and out? We explore the sustainability trends for 2023 apartment architecture below.
Locally Sourced Materials
One of the simplest ways to plan sustainable construction is to source locally. Reducing the total fuel hours that your materials were transported reduces the total carbon footprint of the project. For every delivery of lumber, tile, or doorknobs that are used to build your apartment structures, choosing local manufacturers and local suppliers is more eco-friendly. It’s also more convenient considering supply chain interruptions.
Local building materials can be received positively by future buyers and tenants as well. As sustainability grows as a trend, building from local pine or ash can be an artisanal selling point. So can choosing a tile from a local manufacturer or commissioning a mural from a local artist.
Reclaimed and Recycled Building Materials
One of the biggest issues in sustainable construction is resource decimation. This is counterbalanced by the highly popular trend of building with recycled or even reclaimed materials.
Reclaimed materials are things like wood paneling or complete tiles removed from a previous building during demolition or renovation. These materials are still good, often elegant, and come with a history that buyers and residents appreciate. Recycled building materials range widely in process and new-like quality. On one end is colored rubber playground turf made from recycled tires. On the other, freshly molded plastic is made from millions of recycled bags and bottles. Reclaimed and recycled building materials can also pose an alternative supply chain when previous supplies are unavailable.
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
Part of building an apartment building is to design homes of high quality for the most efficient cost. This often involves techniques that streamline the construction process, like pre-molded bath and shower units and flat-pack kitchen kits. The next evolution from this is the SIP or Structural Insulated Panel. SIPs are two layers of OSB panel – a non-toxic dense pressed board, around an insulating foam core. Laying SIPs can quickly frame units with well-insulated walls that are good for both energy efficiency and noise reduction between rooms and units.
SIPs provide an excellent airtight insulated way to construct apartments, both avoiding toxic gas emissions from construction and creating energy-efficient homes with each unit.
Solar Panel Integration
Many commercial buildings are seeking to integrate solar panels with an internal or external circuit. External circuit solar panels can power garden features and outdoor lights. This can be a delightful way to increase apartment amenities without cutting into your budget for the power bill. Internally connected solar panels can help to offload the total electricity use of the building and even potentially sell power back to the power company.
Solar panels are a popular sustainability feature, and in many regions are subsidized when used to reduce pressure on the municipal power grid. Eco-friendly owners and residents will also enjoy seeing solar panels and living in a solar-powered environment.
100% LED Lighting
Incandescent and fluorescent lighting are things of the past. These power-hungry and unreliable types of lighting have been replaced for all practical purposes with LED lights. LEDs make clear overhead bulbs, bright spotlights, and identical light bars – but without the fluorescent buzz. LED lights take less electricity to run and they also burn less hot, making them safer and far less prone to exploding.
In 2023, even construction projects that are not considering sustainability as a factor now favor LED light fixtures due to their simple practicality. Most smart home lights are also LED, and LEDs offer the unique ability to easily integrate RGB functionality.
In addition to pre-built sections of insulated walls, you can also lay pre-built sections of a building. Modular construction has revolutionized factory-built structures by creating structural pieces, instead. A modularly constructed apartment building can lay entire rooms and units at a time using modules that are factory-perfect – built on an indoor factory floor to fit together seamlessly, and already inspected before delivery. The pieces can be made to order and also modified after installation to complete the desired interior design, while each wall, outlet, and window is already perfectly installed and aligned.
Not only is modular construction faster, saving fuel and labor during on-site assembly, but it also produces very tightly built and energy-efficient homes in large blocks of identical or similarly pieced units.
Gardening with Rainwater
Water sustainability is also on-trend and a nice addition to any residential community. While efficient toilets and aerated showers are now standard procedures, you can also implement interesting water conservation options, as well.
Rainwater can be used to sustain the community green spaces and garden flower beds. If you live somewhere rainy, a rain-powered water feature can be a delight, while even a little rain can be used to keep locally attuned plant life and a single birdbath fresh and healthy. Rainwater installations also appeal to eco-friendly buyers and tenants and are a popular feature among modern luxury designs.
Indoor-Outdoor Living Design
Speaking of luxury, the last sustainable trend for 2023 apartment architecture is indoor-outdoor living. You can reduce the demand for air-conditioned spaces and increase the luxurious appeal of your design with outdoor living.
Shady pergolas gently warmed wood decks, and breezy walkways make an apartment feel more like a resort while reducing the amount of open space that needs to be enclosed and air-conditioned or vacuumed. Deck balconies can provide similar low-maintenance and sustainable-friendly appeal for residents.
Explore Houston for 2023 Apartment Architecture Services with Ted Trout Architects
Planning a multi-family residential development with sustainable principles is practical from a logistics, budgeting, and marketing standpoint. In a time when supply chains can’t be relied on and luxury trends are going green, sustainable construction is a natural choice. For Houston apartment architectural services, you can count on the long-standing expertise of Ted Trout Architects. Contact us today for a consultation on your development plans.