The Materials at the Foundation of Luxury Living

May 24, 2022

As designers seek to differentiate themselves, innovative, unique homes remain at the heart of luxury real estate. The public’s growing desire for energy efficiency is reflected by creatives’ who apply the same values to their constructions.

But what makes a luxury home sustainable? The simple answer: using the right materials. Those in search of lower bills, a smaller carbon footprint, and a healthy, safe atmosphere should take care and consideration when selecting the materials for their home.

Homebuilders are turning to these materials to create the foundation of sustainable homes.

Glass Walls

Glass walls are a longtime favorite of contemporary homeowners. Multifaceted, this statement design feature has been steadily embraced by nearly every architectural style. There’s no doubt why; a glass wall offers both aesthetic and lifestyle benefits, bringing the outdoors inside and encouraging minimal separation between indoor and outdoor living. Nature’s increased presence inside the home is not only beautiful but also good for your health. Just 20 minutes spent outdoors in nature can help lower cortisol levels—the body’s primary stress hormone. 

Further, the more thoughtfully a home is built to increase the presence of natural light, the less it has to rely artificial lighting—and the cost of the energy required to power it. This concept, known as daylighting, highlights the financial and therapeutical benefits of a naturally light-drenched home.

Recycled Steel and Industrial Metal Accents

Like glass walls, industrial metal accents are becoming a more prevalent design element across most interior and architectural styles. Aesthetically, metallic accents can ground homeowners with a sense of strength and dependability. While there are many industrial accent options available, one metal, steel, steals the show when it comes to homebuilding. 

Steel’s unique metallurgical properties make it the ideal choice for thoughtful home building. Steel does not tarnish, mold, or rust—a primary concern of other metallics. Its strength and durability can sustain multiple layers of insulation, which helps minimize the amount of air transferred between the indoors and outside. Not only will this regulate a home’s temperature year-round, but it will also do so while giving the heating and cooling systems a break.  

Most impressively, according to the Steel Recycling Institute, the material is the most recycled in the world. Using steel saves new material from being produced as it can be repurposed in the future if needed—all without degrading its performance or quality. 


The building sector is believed to be responsible for approximately 38% of all carbon emissions annually. This gives home builders a unique opportunity to utilize unconventional materials that reduce the quantity of carbon emissions it takes to build a home. One of these materials is bamboo. 

People love the appearance and feel of hardwood, and the great news is bamboo resembles hardwood but offers some incredible advantages. First, it grows much faster than hardwood, producing 25% more usable material in a given timeframe. Further, it produces 35% more oxygen than hardwood from trees; filters four times the amount of carbon dioxide out of the air; is up the three times firmer than hardwood floors; is naturally pest resistant, and is great for more humid rooms—such as bathrooms. 

Terracotta Roofs

Though terracotta roofs may not be suitable in every market’s climate, they echo a trend in luxury home design: building a home in harmony with its natural surroundings. Clay roofing is a classic element of traditional home building, and its longevity is one of the material’s most revered qualities. A terracotta tile roof can be expected to last for nearly 100 years when correctly installed. Further, it is a trusted fire, impact, rot, and wind-resistant material.

Terracotta is also known for its minimal environmental footprint and great energy efficiency. Unlike other building materials, making clay tiles does not require harmful chemical emissions. Further, the layered installation creates an exceptional heat transfer barrier, keeping your house warmer or cooler depending on the season. While more expensive than alternatives, terracotta roofs have been estimated to lower energy costs by as much as 20%

Materials with Value

When all is said and done, the changing materials that make up luxury homes reflect a shift in priorities for a luxurious lifestyle: health, sustainability and consciousness. Properties in which quality of life is a primary forethought in design have buyers lining up around the block. 

The upfront cost of optimizing a home with sustainable materials is offset by future savings. These durable homes decrease the cost of upkeep, reduce the cumulative cost of energy and increase the standard of living for their inhabitants. Most importantly, the new materials at the foundation of luxury living set a welcoming tone for a kinder life, towards oneself and the environments that surround them.

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