Energy Efficient Building Methods Offset By Huge Home Sizes

Despite the wave of green building techniques that have appeared over recent years, the energy efficiency of new houses is being offset by a rising average size of single family homes, which has increased by almost 1,500 square feet since 1950.

"In the past few decades, houses have gotten greener, but they've gotten bigger too, leaving lingering questions: Is super-sized housing defeating conservation efforts? Can McMansions truly be green?"

"Houses are a major place to look for environmental gains. Besides consuming materials like lumber, the residential sector uses 21 percent of the nation's energy, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). EIA reports indicate that over the past 20 or 30 years, energy-saving measures like efficient windows and refrigerators have become commonplace."

"Meanwhile, homes have steadily grown from sedan- to Hummer-sized. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average new single-family home was 983 square feet in 1950, 1,500 square feet in 1970, and 2,434 square feet in 2005. This occurred even as the average household shrunk from 3.4 to 2.6 people."

Full Story: Hummers on the Homefront

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