Ask the Expert: What are the biggest innovations in green home construction in the past year?

| by Teena Hammond
Ask the Expert: What are the biggest innovations in green home construction in the past year?

There have been many innovations in green home construction in the past year. At ProudGreenHome, we turned to our ACE's to find out what their top picks are.

Duo Dickinson, award-winning architect and author

The biggest innovations are almost all in the realm of getting real on electronic deliverables. In trying to create photovoltaic panel design a few years ago, the ability to know sizing, attachment and angle requirements was pretty oblique. Now any number of manufacturers are much clearer and easier to spec. Similarly the competing insulators have much more complete info online, so while there are always new products, to me it's been a good year for Marshall McLuhan's adage: "The medium is the message."

Eric Corey Freed, founding principal of organicARCHITECT

Although there have been many exciting innovations in the past year to point out, the one that sticks in my mind is the size of an apple. The Nest Thermostat is a learning thermostat, that is to say it learns what temperature you like, when you like it and when you're away from home. Although programmable thermostats have been around for decades, they have been hard to use and often left untouched.

The Nest promises an alternative and intuitive way to program your thermostat by simply being smart enough to program itself. Designed by iPod designer and former Apple executive Tony Fadell, the Nest looks like something straight out of Apple's product catalogue. At $250it is not for everyone, but certainly not out of reach. Plus it is so beautiful, many will want to hang it on their wall as a work of art. But the real reason it is such an innovation is that it marks the first truly commercially available offering for your "smart" home of the 21st Century.

In this interconnected, always-on, energy-conscious world, the Nest represents the type of innovations we really need: a radical redesign of something previously ignored.

Read more about building a green home.

Topics: Building Green, Heating & Cooling, Photovoltaic / Solar Panels, Solar Power, Sustainability Trends & Statistics

Teena Hammond
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.

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