Talk Is Cheap, Modular Is Not

Talk is cheap, and 2010 was full of inexpensive shameful words and labels. As the green movement took hold and stepped into mainstream economic awareness, there was more than an offensive amount of greenwashing (we have already taken to our soapbox about this issue). Greenwashing was everywhere. Everything and every product was eco, recycled, upcycled, biodegradable, etc. The only thing missing from all these widespread environmental claims was honesty.

One of the major 2011 shelter trends is honesty – honest materials and a new era of candid green accountability. After twelve long years of silence, the Federal Trade Commission is releasing an updated Green Guide, this is where the candid green accountability takes place (devour this piece by Scott Adelson for more information on the long overdue FTC update). Products and labels will now have standards to meet and responsibilities to back up their environmental claims. I (unfortunately) doubt this will wash away all greenwashing, but this kind of forward progress is welcome.

Along with the less deceitful labels and products comes a shiny new electronic device to challenge claims and monitor energy management. JWT Intelligence recently shared the cherry on this honestly green sundae – home energy monitors. The age of managing energy consumption within your home, gadgets, and appliances is happening in 2011. I cannot wait to explore this deliciously quantifiable new technology.

Last year we saw the green industry truly take hold of reality, this year we’re refining and quantifying our claims. Lucky for us, not everything from last year is changing this year. Some things still make sense – like modest and modular homes. How can you argue with efficiency of both space and materials combined with stunning design and beautiful geometry?

In 2010 we admired the growing collection of gorgeous modular options (including my favorite muse, the itHouse). This year prefabricated affordability and efficiency will continue to flirt with home owners. Most of our yearnings for small square footage and modules exhibiting effective use of space is attributed to the grave economy. As optimism swells and wallets bulge, let’s not let our egos swell our desire for consumption and square footage (even the dying McMansion is slowly getting smaller). I propose that we continue our love affair with humble space allocation (plus, then we can all drool through more Dwell issues dedicated to prefabricated delights and smaller footprints).

Peruse the rest of our design predictions and 2011 shelter trends.

(Image by Gregg Segal for Dwell. Click here for a full tour of the lovely itHouse).