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Can an ADU be Eco-Friendly?


Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs have been a non-stop discussion here in Denver and quite frankly all over the nation. Accessory Dwelling Units have been touted for being compact and independent from the existing home on a property, but another benefit that is overlooked is their environmental impact. That environmental or eco-friendly strength comes in the form of “urban infill”. Wherever an opportunity to improve and maximize housing under population density concerns is, ADU plans have been flooding the city officials' desks. That is a good sign, with a nationwide housing crisis building properties that fill out vacant spaces of densely populated neighborhoods can help alleviate housing woes. But let’s take a closer look at what an ADU can do.

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit or ADU is what the name suggests; a separate livable space sharing the same property lot of a residential home. One may have seen some in the past as inlaw suites, granny flats, converted garages, and so on. ADUs are essentially entirely different home that is around 400 square feet. According to the National Association of Realtors, around 100,000 ADUs are being built a year. That number is most likely on the rise with any indication of the current status of Denver’s own permitting and review department. Regardless, Properties with an ADU are in high demand as they bring a unique strength to large metro areas where space is limited. In Fact, ADUs have priced an average of 35% higher than homes without.

ADU is a popular solution for additional housing

There has been a slump in new residential construction for quite some time now. Renters and potential homebuyers are well aware of that as inventory and volatility make it a tumultuous landscape to navigate. ADUs are a solution that can be built right in the backyard of homes and kept within the family that owns the property. Those ADUs can be used to house extended family or younger generations close by. Alternatively, families seeking to generate passive income or generational wealth can employ an ADU as an easy-to-manage renal unit. The bottom line is that an ADU creates a small footprint but tackles one of the biggest challenges cities are facing in housing.

How are ADUs Sustainable and Eco-Friendly?

In terms of sustainability, ADUs are helping by providing “urban infill”. This means they are creating more housing in neighborhoods that are already established with only single-family homes. This helps calm the demand for creating more and more sprawling neighborhoods on the outskirts of major cities and towns. With that point, ADUs are more eco-friendly because they help house people more closely within the city. This cuts down on commute times which add pollutants to the air.


Additionally, the compact nature of an ADU is eco-friendly. The smaller living spaces require fewer building materials which help address the supply and demand of natural resources needed for fabrication. Even more, the smaller size translates to a smaller footprint on energy requirements on the urban area’s infrastructure. ADUs can seamlessly integrate with residential neighborhoods unlike a large multifamily development being erected in a nearby park.


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