Why is Sustainable Housing Important?
Sustainable homes help save the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Existing buildings operated with fossil fuels generate at least a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the USA. Newer technologies, like heat pumps, offer solutions. Sustainable homes also save occupants money and are more comfortable.
Heating buildings and water with fossil fuels is rapidly heating our planet. Currently, Oregon’s existing buildings contribute at least a third of greenhouse gas emissions. Even if we improve building codes, without retrofits most of today’s buildings will still emit greenhouse gases in 2050. Optimum insulation and electrification of existing buildings –powered by renewable energy like solar or wind– would significantly slow the rate our planet is warming. (OR Global Warming Commission 2020.)
Further, as our planet warms, we will face water shortages so buildings that harvest rain and reuse gray water will be increasingly desirable. Owners of sustainable homes have lower utility costs, saving money long into the future. They are also more comfortable in their homes.
Read more here about the Living Building Challenge (LBC) rating system (the first LBC rated home is in downtown Bend, OR):
- “Desert Rain: Bend Home Meets Living Building Challenge” (and see TED talk video embedded in article)
- International Living Future Institute Zero Carbon Conference