The Green Blog
How Today's Housing Trends Help the Environment
I've been reading more and more lately about how today's economy is affecting the choices homeowners and potential homebuyers are making. Many families are looking at ways they can downsize their homes and their lifestyles to help their budgets, but at the same time, perhaps without realizing it, they may be helping the environment, too.

"The American consumer is starting to think that bigger is not always better, at least where houses are concerned," said experts presenting at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. While today's homeowner might be downsizing to ease the pinch in his or her wallet, scaling back as far as housing is concerned is definitely a good thing for Mother Earth.

Purchasing smaller new homes and refurbishing existing homes translates to less hyper-development, which would allow us to preserve more farm and wildlife spaces. Americans are learning they can live well with less space. A recent USA Today article reported, "New homes, after doubling in size since 1960, are shrinking. Last year, for the first time in at least 10 years, the average square footage of single-family homes under construction fell dramatically, from 2,629 in the second quarter to 2,343 in the fourth quarter, Census data show."

And there's another benefit to the smaller home trend: Cozier spaces are contributing to families opting to stay home and enjoy time together.

In addition, today's families are looking for solutions to higher energy bills in the form of energy-efficient heating systems and appliances. This demand means that any new homes must be as energy-efficient as possible to attract today's consumer, and those homeowners who are in existing homes are looking at ways to increase energy efficiency, from using CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs to purchasing energy-saving appliances and refurbishing old heating and air conditioning systems.

Even contractors and builders are reporting that, even in these trying economic times, a lot of the work that's keeping them busy is on green rehabs. (Source: L.A. Times ).

The economy is even contributing to the way people decorate their homes. Many are looking for ways to reuse or redecorate what they have instead of buying new. That means less waste in a landfill, especially of the non-biodegradable kind. Housewares designers are also contributing to the trends with items such as slipcovers for furniture and even lamp shades to give old pieces a new look.

Find out more about green remodeling and redecorating at Care2 Make a Difference.
Take a look at your home and see where you can scale back, reuse or refurbish. It's a fun way to use your creativity and be eco-friendly at the same time!