In the hard-hitting documentary, “Before the Flood,” Leonardo DiCaprio makes a staggering statement: the last time the planet dealt with such a high level of greenhouse gasses was in the Pliocene era, about 5.3 million years ago. Now, due to the rapid increase in greenhouse gas emissions, we are approaching this point at a rapid pace.
Most people don’t know how much harm turning up the thermostat by a few degrees will do. After all, it’s not like the effects will affect me directly, they tell to themselves. According to scientists, even a slight increase in Earth’s temperature can lead much higher risks of massive floods, deadly droughts, dramatic changes in marine ecosystems, and the collapse of the agriculture industry.
The problem is so pressing that climate change was named the biggest threat by the World Economic Forum in 2016.
Now, here comes the burning question: what can you do about it? After all, it mostly depends on our governments to address these issues by investing more in sustainable technology. Right? Well, as it turns out, there are numerous things you could do to live a more environmentally-friendly life. And, it all starts with the house you live in today.
1. Protect the Environment
You do your part in helping to conserve the environment. You bought an electric car, you pay attention to food and water waste, and you use energy efficient light bulbs. Although all these actions are important, you may not be addressing the biggest pollutant: your home.
American households use about 20% of the country’s energy reserves. Moreover, about a fifth of greenhouse gasses emitted in the US come from home related emissions. So, even though you are eco-conscious your house probably isn’t.
Green homes, on the other hand, are designed with sustainability in mind. In other words, not only that the materials used are environmentally-friendly, but the entire design focuses on energy and waste reduction. As a result, a green home can reduce its greenhouse gasses emissions by up to 2,000 kilograms per year.
Another way future homes benefit the environment is that the waste they produce is significantly lower when compared with traditional homes. One-quarter of the U.S’s non-industrial waste comes from the home building industry. By working with recycled materials and employing sustainable technology, builders are using less energy and materials to build new homes.
Don’t make the mistakes of believing that if a house isn’t built from traditional materials, such as concrete or brick, it’s not durable. Green materials like fiber-cement, recycled steel, or plant-based polyurethane rigid foam, can last longer than traditional materials and are easier to maintain.
2. Improve Your Quality of Life
Green homes are often only associated with protecting the environment, but as it turns out, living in a green home can improve your health too. Researchers have found that people started feeling better once they’ve moved to an environmentally-friendly home.
Here’s why: according to scientists, indoor air quality can seriously affect one’s health, especially if we consider the fact that most Americans spend over 65% of their time indoors. Pollutants such as tobacco smoke, nitrogen dioxide, and other compounds can exacerbate respiratory problems and even lead to cancer.
When it comes to green building, contractors use materials that have little to no formaldehyde, an organic compound that is known to cause cancer. Moreover, due to the complex ventilation systems they use, you are less exposed to dangerous chemicals or pathogens. As a result, future homes are crucial not only for the environment but beneficial for your health too.
Here’s a benefit that everyone can appreciate. According to a 2013 study, the average American household spends about $110 on energy bills. The problem is even more severe in the case of poor income households, which spend more than 10% of their wage on electricity.
It’s a known fact that energy-efficient home designs can help you save on energy consumption and cut down your costs. In fact, experts have proven that running a self-sustaining home, costs $1.27 per day, meaning that you’ll pay at least 34% less on your energy bill per month.
Not only is running a green household is cheaper than a traditional one, but buying and selling it is also very cost-effective. The government offers various incentives to encourage people to purchase sustainable houses.
Selling your green home can also turn to be a profitable deal. Studies have shown that homes that feature sustainable technologies are sold for 30% more than traditional ones.
If we want to protect the environment for future generations, we need to plan and live our lives with our much larger home in mind: the Earth. The future homes need to be more sustainable and protect not only our health and bank accounts but our planet too.