Greenery might be Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year, but that has nothing to do with the title of this article. Green design, also known as sustainable design, focuses on conserving energy and minimizing harm to the environment. While sustainability concerns are nothing new, green design concepts have been growing in popularity over the last several years. If you’re thinking about incorporating green elements into your home, consider one of these four trends.

1) Solar Technology

Solar technology has been available since the 1950s, but it didn’t become commercially viable until the early 2000s. Today, homeowners can install solar shingles, solar siding and more. Solar batteries, which store the energy generated by solar panels, have also evolved over the last few decades. The development of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries has increased the amount of energy that can be stored per unit. Some other benefits of lithium batteries include lower charging resistance and fewer maintenance requirements.

2) Indoor Gardens

Supporters of the green movement also tend to be supportive of the natural food movement. Perhaps that’s one reason why innovative gardening technologies are also growing in popularity. Examples of indoor gardening tech include hydroponic gardens the size of wine coolers and lamps that mimic natural sunlight. Homeowners can now even compost inside with the help of a food recycler. These nifty devices use heat and moisture to increase the rate at which food decomposes.

3) Water Conservation

As record-breaking droughts sweep the United States, more and more homeowners are taking water conservation into their own hands. Leak-detecting valves and tankless water heaters are two of the most popular water conservation technologies. Leakless valves use motion sensors to detect leaks and cut off the water supply. Tankless water heaters use electricity to warm water on demand. Both of these technologies allow users to conserve water and save money.

4) Smart Technology

Back in 1999, Smart House was the title of a satirical Disney Channel movie. Today, smart houses are a reality. Devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home allow consumers to control household appliances with a voice command or mobile app. While these technologies aren’t strictly “green,” they make it easier for consumers to use existing technology efficiently. For example, smart thermostats allow users to change the temperature at home from a remote location. Users can save energy by turning off their HVAC system during the day and turning it back on before returning home.

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