The trend in housing size is moving in an upward direction. Since the 1980s, the average house size has increased by 700 square feet. In the 1970s, only 17% of homes had ceilings higher than the standard of 8 feet, whereas today 52% have ceilings higher than the standard 8 feet. What’s more, homes occupied by a single person are at an all-time high, with 28% of homes in the United States being occupied by just one person. All this translates to more resources spent on housing, including utilities, per person, which means a bigger carbon footprint and environmental impact for each person in the United States.
Buildings are responsible for a third of carbon emissions worldwide. They require energy to build, maintain, heat, and cool. The larger spaces with less occupancy that are now becoming the trend translate to more energy consumption heating a giant house with one occupant, leading to higher rates of greenhouse gas emissions.
Smaller houses can be made more functional for families, thereby reducing carbon footprints. To make the most of your space, mount as much on the walls as possible to clear up floor space. Remove doors, reduce clutter, and use multifunctional furniture. Using appliances that do double duty can also help. Keep your decor fresh with neutral paint and mirrors to help it feel more open.
There is a tiny house trend taking hold in the United States now. There’s a home in Oregon that is only 70 square feet. Many new homes worldwide are taking advantage of this trend to produce tiny houses in order to lessen the human impact on the environment. Houses that are under 1000 square feet that were once starting to go the way of the albatross are now starting to be the “in” thing to build. Learn more about compact living from this infographic.