10 Sustainable Home Design Trends

Sustainability has been quite the buzzword when it comes to home design in recent years, and at first, it was attractive to homeowners who wanted to potentially reduce their carbon footprint and help safeguard the planet. However, eco-friendly and sustainable living has an undeniable side effect when it comes to home design: financial savings due to eco-friendly lifestyle habits and energy-efficient, “green” homes. Because of its popularity, home designers, architects, and others in the industry come up with new ideas every day to help keep sustainability marketable. Read on to learn about the latest trends that are popular with homeowners when it comes to building and design.

Prefab Homes

A prefabricated home refers to any kind of home that was assembled in a factory and then shipped (in one piece) to your site. Prefab homes have a lot of benefits, with the number one reason being their affordability to homeowners. Most are sustainable in nature because there is very little waste incurred as they are built, and prefab builders are efficient. There are also short construction times, so if potential homeowners have a site ready and all the proper permits are in place, homeownership can be quick. 

Prefab homes are also great for remote areas because builders simply come in and “drop” the home. It’s good to remember that with a prefab home there won’t be inclement weather delays or other issues that will slow your move-in date down. 


The term “cargotecture” has been around for a few years, but it is just recently gaining popularity. You would think of cargotecture like building an adult LEGO set: Builders use unwanted, recycled shipping containers, which are often made from aluminum or steel to build houses as well as other buildings, such as community centers. These reused shipping containers are highly durable and resistant to the elements, so are great for use in areas that may get severe weather. 

Living Walls and Roofs

Living walls and roofs certainly add a beautiful aesthetic to your home, especially if you want to add a garden-like feeling to your indoor space. However, there is a clear purpose behind having either of these for your home. The purpose of a living wall is to purify the air in your home as well as to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A living wall also adds humidity to the air; if your home is dry, this can add natural humidity better than an appliance. A living wall can be constructed on nearly any wall inside the home. A living roof is constructed of a water-retaining layer that is housed beneath layers of vegetation and plants. Like a living wall, it acts as an air purifier but also adds a beautiful aesthetic. 

Smart Homes

Many people now have smart devices in their homes, whether they have a Google Home or Amazon Echo helping them with the lights and other fixtures and appliances. However, more and more home designs are allowing for the development of homes that are smart in almost every aspect, hoping to achieve true energy efficiency throughout the homes. From smart thermostats to smart irrigation systems, you can control the adjustments at your home when you’re not there. Being able to control these types of home systems can save so much on energy bills. 

Sustainable Furniture

Just as important as the sustainable design of the home is how you choose to furnish it. Making the choice for sustainable furniture is an important one, including making an informed decision about the companies you choose. At CORT, our sustainability mission is to positively impact the communities we serve, while reducing our impact on the environment. Our furniture rental model itself keeps more greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, so whether you choose to rent or buy from CORT, you’re making the world a little greener.

Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Homes

A ZNE home is a type of prefab home that is specially built to produce as much energy as it consumes. These are a relatively new trend, and you may also hear them called by other names, such as Net Zero homes. These prefab homes are equipped with high-efficiency heating and ventilation systems as well as rooftop solar panels to try to keep the energy threshold even. 

Carbon Footprint Calculator

An EC3 Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator is a handy tool for home builders to use as they are in the process of building. Builders who are preparing homes such as the ZNE or Net Zero homes are using tools such as these to ensure that they’re building these homes with sustainability in mind and not consuming more energy. This tool is free for anyone to use and relies heavily on building information modeling, or BIM. It uses computer-generated representations of building materials, utilities, buildings, and other information. It can help architects and builders design and build a home that uses less energy and ensure they’re using the right materials during construction. It helps everyone plan for better building using energy-efficient design.

Virtual Reality Construction

Builders and architects have been using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) a lot more when it comes to projects, for several reasons. It allows everyone to get a better first-hand and more accurate view of the project, without necessarily having to be on-site, which can cost money and time and slow the project down. Using VR and AR as part of the design process, along with other tools, allows designers to initially test new ideas for viability without wasting money on raw materials in the field. It also makes it easier to gauge your project when using VR in architectural plans. 

Bamboo Hardwood

More and more builders are opting for bamboo when it comes to their flooring. While many may think of bamboo as grass, it is actually more durable for flooring than hardwood and, because it is plentiful, is a far more sustainable choice. Bamboo is a renewable source and regrows quickly when harvested. Also, compared to hardwood, bamboo is harvested by hand, so no machines are used (and therefore, no gases emitted) You can find bamboo flooring in several different shades, and aesthetically, bamboo is a perfect choice.

Tiny Homes

One of the most popular sustainable home trends is living in a tiny home. A tiny home is a prefab home and has an average size of 186 square feet. A tiny home emits just over 1,000 lbs. of CO2 pollution, while a regular-sized house emits about 16,000 lbs. of CO2 pollution in a year, so a tiny home can most certainly decrease your carbon footprint. They’re mobile, easy to pick up and take with you anywhere, and are extremely affordable. For many, the size problem might be just too difficult—these may not be the best choice for a family. But, do keep in mind that these are just one type of prefab home. There are many types of prefab homes, and a builder could make one completely to your specifications. 

CORT is dedicated to sustainability, and we would love to help you outfit your home with rental furniture as part of that sustainability process. Contact us for more information on how to outfit and design your entire home with CORT Furniture Rental

Photo by Alexander Tiupa from Pexels