Forget Cars: Houses Are The Real Problem

The act of running and building our homes is responsible for almost half of the U.S.'s carbon footprint. GOOD Magazine asks, so why are we so obsessed with making cars sustainable instead of homes?

"We're hardwired to address the smaller problems that we can see, rather than the big ones that we can't imagine. There's no better-or more important-example of that problem than the current debate over energy use.

I'd wager that if you polled even well-informed citizens, they'd rank fuel efficiency as the number one problem we face, in trying to reduce carbon emissions. And I'd bet that, if in this very column you're reading, I went on to talk about all the ways cars are destructive to the environment, not a single person would respond: But how important is that, really?

But the plain fact, as Mother Jones points out, is that buildings, in the electricity they use to run and the materials they require to build, are responsible for nearly half of our nation's carbon footprint. Transportation? Twenty-seven percent. So it's safe to say that while transportation is crucial, we can't solve our carbon problem if we fail to address the energy we use in our buildings.

And yet the fuel efficiency of cars dominates headlines and op-eds, while discussions of carbon-neutral electricity-when they happen-treat it more like something that's nice to have rather than the single biggest problem at hand. Why is that?"

Full Story: Home Improvement

Comments

Comments

Steps to Stop Climate Change

Anybody who's looked into it knows that stopping climate change requires BOTH greening our electricity and greening our transportation (and stopping deforestation).

A lot of this depends on national (and international) public policy. Can citizens effectively band together to demand that we aggressively transition to clean-renewable energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, small hydroelectric, tidal/wave, etc.?

I don't know the answer to that, but I just renewed my Greenpeace membership, so hopefully they can lobby more effectively than the oil and coal heavyweights inside the beltway.

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
$50.00