Because this blog is all about sustainability and thinking green in terms of energy usage, environmental impacts, and many other topics, I decided to outline a few areas in which the average American household could make itself more sustainable. Sustainable design is incredibly important in today’s world, because if we can find small, affordable ways to implement sustainability into one house, then other houses will follow. Eventually, that original idea will have impacted millions of households across the nation, and could set a higher standard for future houses being built in terms of sustainability.
There are a variety of ways that the average household could decrease it’s environmental impact, including incorporating the idea of healthy buildings, better quality/durability, using low-impact materials, and increasing energy efficiency. Healthy buildings are buildings that are created and designed to have less of an environmental impact on buildings of similar nature. For example, a house that has solar panels and strong insulation is “healthier” than one next-door that has neither. Quality and durability are very important, because if you initially buy a product that can last a long time, you won’t have to buy a replacement for many years. Durable products therefore significantly reduce the demand for buying an unnecessary amount of new products, and directly limit the buyer’s impact on the environment (for the most part, the creation of new products has a negative, pollutant impact on the environment). However, if homeowners do need to buy new products for their house, the use of low-impact materials is beneficial because they significantly reduce carbon footprint. These materials can be either recycled, or just sustainably produced.
Finally, the efficient use of energy is perhaps the most important factor in determining how “healthy” a house is. Energy efficiency could entail investing in cleaner energy supplies (solar, wind, efficient light bulbs, etc.) and/or simply using less energy in general. Examples of all of these practices are shown in the image below. Because of how beneficial these practices are to the environment, it is very important to get the word out about how easy and affordable it can be to model houses this way.
Written by Alex Solorio, ESLLC 2015-2016