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A Future With Sustainable Housing: Is There One At All?

Updated: Mar 15

Can we implement sustainable housing to deter and reduce the impending negative effects of climate change?

A common tactic used by environmentalists when trying to enact change is informing the public that, with a few small changes to their lifestyles, they can help make a difference. It is a great way to get community members to take a step back, consider their habits and determine how they may be affecting the planet. This may be why green housing seems so appealing. Citizens can have sustainability built into their lives (literally) without having to change too much, if anything, about their daily routines.

There are numerous components that, when pieced together, classify a home as “sustainable,” and they truly make environmental efforts “worth it.” According to Blue Raven Solar, an American solar company, installing solar panels vastly reduces air pollution, and their use in one home equates to planting about 4,000 trees. Homes with eco-friendly roofs and increased foliage in front and back yards can also improve air quality for residents. And though such a feat would require more water to maintain, water-saving appliances, such as timed sprinklers and eco-shower heads, can offset the difference and then some.

The concept of sustainable housing incorporates eco-consciousness into our daily lives. It truly is a brilliant way to encourage the public to get educated and take part in a larger movement. That being said, every initiative has its drawbacks. For these green houses, it’s the green paper—money. For example, buyer’s advice platform Consumer Affairs notes that solar panels in the U.S. can cost anywhere from $11,144 to $14,696. It is not a simple purchase, but, rather, a large commitment. 

In the long run, when it comes to sustainable housing, consumers do end up saving large sums of money. With solar panels, a consumer’s energy bill can be cut by up to 75% over some 20 years, as stated by Consumer Affairs. The problem with this is that, with money returning so far in the future, it is not feasible for most Americans to start a sustainable housing project in the first place. These high upfront costs are a deterrent all on their own, and with good reason. For a citizen who does not know much about the climate crisis, this may not seem like a worthwhile conversation, let alone a worthwhile investment. This issue makes it somewhat unrealistic to encourage the implementation of sustainable homes nationwide since a large portion of the population would not be able to afford to take part anyway.

Still, I do believe sustainable homes have a place in America’s future. They have too many extremely positive benefits to be ignored. Action needs to be taken in order to make this initiative more achievable for the lower to middle class, and efforts should be put towards helping a larger number of citizens learn about, understand and reap its benefits.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


"How Much Do Solar Panels Save?" Blue Raven Solar, 21 Sept. 2021, Accessed 23 Sept. 2022.

Parkman, Kathryn. "How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?" Edited by Vincent Landino. Consumer Affairs, 28 Apr. 2022, Accessed 23 Sept. 2022.


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