What Millennials Want: The Gen Y Eco House

1002330_643779232301551_610039947_n.jpg45602_643779418968199_1756524969_n.jpgThe Gen Y Eco House, constructed this summer by College of Design students and their instructor, James Garrett Junior, will be exhibited at the Eco Experience during the Minnesota State Fair, August 22 - September 2. 

While conducting preliminary research, students surveyed millennials about their approach to home ownership and discovered Gen Y consider home ownership to be very important but wants their house to fit their lifestyle with a majority of their area dedicated to gathering spaces.

Students also learned that the millennials consider the dining room the least utilized space (possibly because survey respondents reported cooking just three or four meals at home per week). Generation Y is also concerned with energy conservation and renewable energy, so the class designed a house reflecting these needs and their knowledge of sustainability principles.

How does it work?Thumbnail image for 644192_643779352301539_277081352_n.jpg

The small size of the house increases its sustainability by requiring fewer materials in construction and creates a smaller footprint for reduced heating and cooling. The smaller total area challenged the students to come up with a way to provide all the amenities of a larger home while keeping their house sustainable.

Their solution? The SuperWall. The Gen Y Eco House features a SuperWall, a main interior wall that contains all the technology for living: electricity, plumbing and cooking. The SuperWall includes folding furniture and IMG_20130730_195606.jpgsliding, rotating walls that can be used to conceal private spaces or create a larger room for entertaining. The house also incorporates an outdoor patio for increased living space, solar PV panels and recycled materials.

Visitors to the Eco Experience will also get a chance to experience the Home Energy Exhibit, which showcases 11 new displays on energy efficiency and renewable energy. The exhibit will highlight ideas for energy conservation in the kitchen, basement, family room and more.

The Department of Commerce organized the event with its partners CenterPoint Energy, Warners' Stellian, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Natural Built Home, ReUSE Minnesota, Center for Energy and Environment, Minnesota Building Performance Association, Minnesota Renewable Energy Society and Windustry.

More stories from the College of Design: