A Look Back: Sustainable Design Progress in 2017
Builders and city planners made big strides in sustainable design in 2017. Real estate blog Curbed ranked some of the most resourceful design trends: from shifts to solar and wind energy, to making cities more walkable, to paving better roads, sustainable development is having a positive impact across the country and the world.
Solar and Offshore Wind Energy
As solar power development advances, solar housing is no longer identified as the bulky panel extensions affixed to residential roofs. With the advent of SolarCity’s solar roof tiles, solar fixtures are now beginning to take the shape of solar blinds, solar windows, solar glass bricks, and solar paints. Offshore wind energy is on the rise too. By 2020, New York will have the country’s largest offshore wind farm, powering 50,000 homes with just 15 turbines.
Better Roads and Better Routes
Researchers worldwide are looking into paving roads with recycled material to reduce waste buildup and repair cracks and potholes. Engineers have developed paving material from recycled plastic, solar panels, and cigarette butts. As the way we commute changes, traffic and transit patterns are adapting as well. More electric vehicle charging stations are being opened and cities around the world are welcoming urban cyclers with safer bike lanes and more bike parking stations.
Urban gardening was another popular concept in 2017. City dwellers are converting rooftops into farms and repurposing vacant space with modular gardening systems to improve air quality and in some cases even grow food to eat.
As the necessity for sustainable design continues to grow, builders and city planners will likely continue to pioneer development into 2018 and beyond.