How energy efficient our housing is, what it is built out of and how many people are using how much space differs a lot between different people. Unlike food and other areas of our lifestyle, our housing situation is not a decision that we make often and we often don’t have very many choices when we make our decision. You might not really want to move just to reduce your environmental impact and that’s fair enough! What we will suggest however is if the opportunity presents itself to move to a more sustainable living situation, try comparing the result of the footprint calculator from your current home (or the alternative) to the place that you’re considering. This will help put a figure on the option and help you weigh up whether it’s right for you. The great thing about the calculator is that once you start reducing your score and build some momentum, it becomes a fun challenge to see where else you can reduce which might give you the motivation to choose a more sustainable living situation.
Another major part of the environmental impact of our housing is how much energy we use to heat, cool and light it. If you’re making a decision about where to live, there are a few things that you can look for that significantly reduce the amount of energy that the house needs. Features such as double glazing, good orientation and window placement that lets the winter sun in but keeps the summer sun out are some good things to look for. Another good thing to think about is how much space you need. A bigger house will use more energy and if there are fewer people in it, much of that energy will go to waste. Another small thing that we can try and do is to reduce our usage of heating and cooling systems. This is a small thing but turning down your heater or air-con and putting on/taking off a layer will add up to savings on power bills and overall impact.
Again, we’d like to remind anyone reading this that these are simply suggestions and ideas to make sustainable decisions. No one is perfect and we all have to work with our own circumstances. If you have a choice over where and how you live, try and choose something sustainable. If you don’t have a choice, that’s fine too! There are many other ways that we can reduce our impact and we encourage you to check out the rest of the website to see if there’s anything that works for you.