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Growing in Place – Board & Vellum

Building Green

What To Consider When Future-Proofing Your Home

How long do you plan to stay in your current home? If you’re considering staying in it through your golden years, you’ll want to start thinking about future-proofing. Confused? Don’t worry! Here, we’ll walk you through the four basic principles to follow when you’re planning to age in place.

February 2, 2023

The four factors of future-proofing.

“Future-proofing” is a term the design industry has adopted to describe the essential considerations when planning to stay in your home through your senior years. Also referred to as “planning for aging in place,” these strategies help create a more comfortable future by accounting for our changing needs as we age.

There are four factors to consider when thinking about how your home will meet your changing needs: affordability, accessibility, healthy materials, and durability.


Cost is one of the biggest reasons people feel forced to move from the home they love. The price of heating and cooling will likely continue to increase, making it a significant contributor to affordability over time.

Growing in Place – Board & Vellum
Let There Be Light

With modern window technology, you don’t have to give up great views to the outdoors to keep your heating and cooling bills down.

These are some of the most important future-proofing things to consider when it comes to affordability.

  • Improve your home’s energy efficiency with a blanket of insulation for cost savings and comfort. Insulation is your home’s defense against the heat and the cold of the outdoors, which means it can help you maintain a more constant indoor temperature year-round with less burden on your heating and cooling systems.
  • Replace old leaky windows and doors with fiberglass units. Even small drafts can impact your heating and cooling bills so investing in upgraded windows now could mean a more comfortable home and wallet later.
  • Upgrade your heating system to an electric heat pump, which comes with the benefit of cooling. Heat pumps are a super-efficient way to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. (It’s the same technology that keeps your refrigerator cool!)
  • Look for products with both public and private rebates. Some municipalities and even the federal government will offer money back or money off if you choose to upgrade your home with future-proofing products like solar panels.


Nobody wants to move due to physical changes and health issues that come up as we age. However, this happens to people all the time – often prompted by a sudden need which makes it even more heartbreaking.

Net Positive Custom Home – Board & Vellum
Easy Access

All your major rooms and appliances on one floor with wide doorways and room to move can give you a headstart if mobility every becomes an issue.

Ideally, your future-proofing plan will take the accessibility of your home into consideration.

  • Consider a single-level living plan that provides space for sleeping, bathing, cooking, and laundry. If you live in a multi-story home, you might not realize how much you use the stairs. Or how hard it would be to navigate your home if there ever came a day you couldn’t climb them. Having all your day-to-day necessities on one floor can keep you in your home even if mobility becomes an issue.
  • You also might not realize how many obstacles your bathroom contains until your mobility is limited. Upgrade your bathroom for accessibility with a low threshold shower and prep for future grab bars at a minimum, and better yet some additional space to move around in.
  • If you’re upgrading your home for the future, it’s a great opportunity to widen doorways and corridors so they’re large enough to navigate in a wheelchair. Knowing your home is accessible even with a mobility aid can give you tremendous peace of mind.

Healthy Materials

Having the right products in your home makes a big difference in physical health, as well as the health of the planet (both of which are important elements of future-proofing your home).

Net Positive Custom Home – Board & Vellum
Finishing Touches

Clay plaster walls, cork floors, and reclaimed wood add beauty to this space and limited waste during construction.

Healthy materials don’t off-gas chemicals into your space or pollute the water or land in their manufacturing or disposal. Bonus points if these can be sourced locally!

  • Look for products labeled “No VOC” (no Volatile Organic Compounds). VOCs let off gasses from unstable compounds, so products without them create fewer odors when applied and drying. This means better indoor air quality in your home (where VOCs can be trapped and accumulate over time). This applies to paints and stains, adhesives, furnishings, insulation, and other manufactured items.
  • Use natural materials such as untreated wood, cut stone, cork, and woven grasses. Natural materials provide great texture and visual interest in a space and are often easy to maintain.
  • Clay plaster is truly an amazing product. It is free from VOCs, plastics, and formaldehyde, has a minimal carbon footprint, and can even absorb odors and some airborne toxins for a healthier home. Plus, It can be applied to sheetrock and makes a beautiful finish to interior walls.


Well-made, longer-lasting materials mean lower maintenance demands.

Crescent Creek House – Board & Vellum
Built to Last

Thoughtful materials, like the tile and cork floors of this kitchen, are sustainable options for today that will wear well into the future.

There are new durable materials on the market all the time, but these are some time-tested ones we always think are worth considering.

  • Metal roofs are a great alternative to asphalt roofing. They are impact- and corrosion-resistant, can sustain severe weather, and have more than twice the lifespan of traditional roofs. Plus, they won’t ignite if exposed to flames (like a wildfire) or are struck by lightning. They are also fully recyclable at the end of their use.
  • Porcelain tiles not only look beautiful but can outlast the wear and tear of daily life. They come in a huge variety of textures, patterns, and colors, are scratch-, chip-, and crack-resistant, and are high on the affordability scale!
  • Consider hiring a professional to guide your material choices, as some products claim to be durable but are less desirable on the scale of healthy materials. For example, composite decking is a durable and long-lasting material, but it combines plastic and wood dust in a way that means it can’t be composted or recycled for another use later. It also creates unhealthy dust when cut. The good news is, there are other options!

While each of these factors is super effective on its own, when combined, they create a synergy that amplifies the benefits of each. Creating a plan that incorporates elements from each of these categories will give your home a good start for supporting your future needs and comfort over the long run.

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What To Consider When Future-Proofing Your Home

How long do you plan to stay in your current home? If you’re considering staying in it through your golden years, you’ll want to start thinking about future-proofing. Confused? Don’t worry! Here, we’ll walk you through the four basic principles to follow when you’re planning to age in place.

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