What is a Sustainable House?
Households in the USA consume 20 quadrillion BTU of energy per year. This amounts to approximately 20% of all energy (electricity plus natural gas and heating oil) use in USA. In terms of electricity, households consume 35% of all electricity produced in the USA. Despite numerous energy efficiency improvements over the years in insulation, refrigeration, air conditioning and other appliances, our energy use has continued to sky rocket as the houses continue to grow in sizes. Average house has grown from 1500 ft2 in 1970 to 2300 ft2 in 2005. Further, fewer people are living in each household.
Besides energy use on an ongoing basis, the houses consume resources in forms of building materials and wastes created during house construction.
Choosing the correct house plan and house size has a significant impact on energy and resource use in a house.
Choosing the right plants and the right building materials can have a significant reduction in allergens and VOCs in an house.
Sustainable House is a goal. There is no house which is energy self sufficient along with having zero carbon footprint. There is no house which has negligible impact on resource use. Our choices can get us close to the Sustainable House.