Whether you’re buying a new home or considering sustainable upgrades to your current home, there are a few ways to ensure your home is working smarter (not harder), creating less of an impact on the environment and saving you money. I’ve compiled a list of tips that include recommended upgrades as well as pitfalls to avoid when greening your home. As an architect and developer, these are some of the considerations that played into my artHAUS condo development in Midtown Phoenix and my current project, the new KARMA smart, modern community of 11 homes coming to North Central Phoenix this year. And remember – always focus on quality over quantity. You’ll be glad you did!

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Indoor/outdoor connections

Look for integrated indoor/outdoor connections where you can extend your living space to the outdoors. This allows you to expand your living space without increasing conditioned indoor square footage while providing greater variety of healthy “rooms or spaces” that can be enjoyed throughout the day and night.

Whole home water filtration

This is a game changer, and the number one wellness improvement you can make to your home. If you haven’t had this feature before, you don’t know what you’re missing. Pay attention to what you put in and on your body.

Solar panels + battery + energy management system

Optimize your home’s energy use and minimize your utility costs with a smart energy management system such as SPAN (span.io). Create a resilient technology backbone for your home by pairing a SPAN Panel with SPAN Drive for optimum control of your solar, battery, and electric vehicle charging.

Think timeless

Look past the trends and select timeless materials for your home. Ornate cabinets and crazy patterned backsplashes might seem like fun at the moment, but likely won’t stand the test of time. Make smart design choices and focus on quality materials with recycled and rapidly renewable content.

Indirect LED lighting

Everyone knows LED lighting decreases energy use and heat gain in the home, but did you know it can also improve a home’s ambiance? Focus on light quality, color temperature, and placement. Consider a combination of both direct and indirect lighting to highlight elements and wash surfaces in your home with warm, inviting light instead of blasting down harsh light from traditional can lights in the ceiling.

Go electric

An all-electric home can be the best way to go. Choose an electric tankless water heater and induction cooking. Gas cooking lovers might balk at this one, but preferences are changing, once homeowners give it a chance, thanks to new products on the market. I know buyers who now prefer induction cooking over gas cooking.

Passive cooling

Look for operable windows, doors and skylights. This is all about comfort and reducing energy use. Let the cool air in; let the hot air out through proper placement and operational flexibility.

Don’t skimp on insulation

Homes with a highly insulated wall and roof construction paired with a tightly sealed exterior air barrier will reduce costs by stopping air leakage. This translates into significant long term utility cost savings to the tune of thousands per year for the average home. Consider putting this savings back to work with increased air quality filtration and a higher seer rating on your HVAC equipment.

Home orientation

Understand your climate and how to properly orient your home to the sun. This is the single most sustainable move you can make to reduce your home’s energy footprint. 

Good design matters

Hire an architect capable or orchestrating all of these elements into your best living environment.  Architect-designed homes command premiums, so it’s safe to say your return on investment in properly designed home will not only impact your quality of life, but also your resale value.


Jason Boyer is an architect developer and founder of Boyer Vertical. His first development project was the award-winning artHAUS condominiums in Midtown Phoenix. He is currently working on KARMA, a new smart, modern community of 11 homes coming to North Central Phoenix in 2022. Jason Boyer recently received the national honor of being named one of the 2022 Class of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a recognition earned by only 4% of the national AIA member architects.