TEXT BY ADRIENNE PERRON
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF TAUNTON PRESS
Percentage of the world’s carbon the building sector is responsible for.
Decrease it: The more materials are processed, the more C02 they emit. Opt for natural products made from wood and plants instead.
Average square footage of a new house in the U.S. — up from 1,660 50 years ago.
Decrease it: Build as small as possible to cut your carbon footprint. The PGH group suggests 1,000 square feet for one person, 1,500 for two, 1,750 for three, and 1,875 for four.
Average number of years Americans own a house.
Increase it: Design a house you can easily modify (so you’re less likely to build another one). Make sure walls can be moved, plumbing and wiring is accessible, and solar panels can be added.
Percentage of heat a typical home loses through its cracks and seams.
Decrease it: Seal them and add extra insulation (the authors recommend cellulose or wood-fiber varieties) to lower your utility costs and environmental impact.
Percentage of U.S. energy solar power produces.
Increase it: Invest in a solar array or join a community solar farm, which allows you to tap into a renewable energy source and receive credits on your utility bill.