22 October 2008

Size matters

Building material dealers and home builders looking for hope in a down housing market often talk about the market for luxury homes, because the rich are still building, and the market for green homes, because homeowners want to save on fuel costs while helping the environment. The sweet spot there is the Green McMansion, an exceptional creature known for its geothermal heating, solar panels, certified wood, and large footprint. But can a large home be a green home?

Opinion columnist Monique Cole says, well, not really:
Big homes ... often are built far from urban centers. The rulers of these prairie castles must therefore burn fuel to get to work or an airport. Bigger homes also require more upkeep -- think of the landscapers, housekeepers, window cleaners and dog walkers who have to commute to service the home and its occupants. Adding solar panels and cork floors to one of these mansions is a nice touch, but is this going green, or is it green-washing?

The Socratic Gadfly adds, Heck No!
Throwing some recycled materials into a house that size sounds like it’s being done for the reason many jetsetter elites buy carbon offset credits — It’s the modern equivalent of indulgences.

But Low Impact Living says a LEED Platinum McMansion is better than any other kind.
Eco-mansion haters sometimes ignore an inconvenient truth: Huge homes are constantly getting built, and most of these are anything but green.

On the other hand, the 100K House has a different take:
Perhaps, instead of thinking of how large a house should or should not be, we should consider how much space each individual needs, a sort of square feet per capita idea.

I think that's an idea worth pondering.

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