2020 has been unprecedented, unpredictable, and at times, seemingly unmanageable. Reactions on social media have run the full gamut - many friends deleted accounts to escape news updates, while others have taken to the comments section to vent and lament. Even the commercials that play between episodes of (guilty pleasure) reality TV series jokingly compare this year to a dumpster fire.
But as 2020 draws to a close, we want to make a point to stop and appreciate all of the good happening now and in the works for the future. A few of our favorite things that happened this year:
· Essential workers - from health care teams to teachers to grocery store and cleaning staff - are getting an overdue and well-deserved flurry of appreciation for the invaluable services they provide.
· Less travel and more people working from home caused a global decline in air pollution. The decrease was most significant during the March and April lockdowns, with concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter dropping by 60% and 31% respectively, but the lasting changes to human behavior continue to have long-term impacts on air quality.
· An unprecedented number of households welcomed foster and forever pets into their homes this year, bringing both people and animals some much needed love.
· Companies and school districts around the country have partnered to close the digital divide by bringing free or discounted internet access and computers to students who need them most.
· Equity, inclusivity, and the celebration of diversity have been overarching themes this year, and motivation has never been stronger to build a world that is safe, comfortable, and supportive for all. More voices than ever are speaking up and being heard, and we are starting to see how different sectors are responding. Some progress is small, but still appreciated, like Crayola releasing a box of crayons with diverse skin colors so children could “accurately color themselves into the world.”
· The places we enjoy visiting the most have reimagined their experiences in accessible and creative ways. Cities are adopting more pedestrian-friendly streets with dedicated outdoor dining and shopping spaces. Museums that were forced to close their physical spaces have opened their doors to virtual audiences, sharing their collections with those who may not otherwise been able to see them. Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback while drive-in concerts are making their debut. When faced with the need to respond and adapt, we saw the true extent of human creativity as we developed new ways to stay connected to the people and things we love most.
This year has also seen a greater push for green building, with sustainable construction and design practices gaining traction and making headlines. As the benefits of prefab houses - including controlled construction environments, more predictable timelines, and better opportunities for reusing and recycling building materials - become more widely known, this approach to building is steadily growing in popularity. More specifically, Net Zero Energy prefab homes like BrightBuilt’s are in demand, because who wouldn’t want to live with minimal impact and no utility costs?
As energy costs rise and awareness of the global climate crisis increases, so has the number of buildings that produce more energy than they consume. In their annual Inventory of Zero Energy Homes in the US and Canada, Team Zero reports an impressive increase (+59%) in the number of Zero Energy housing units for the fourth consecutive year. At the top of their list of designers and builders with more than 10 projects is BrightBuilt Home, with 78 Net Zero homes constructed as of the end of 2019!
More than ever, we are inspired by our team, our clients, our peers, and our community. Looking forward and into the new year, we are filled with hope and excitement for all of the ways we will continue to grow, flourish, and connect.