Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hooray for small house!

To Reduce Greenhouse Gases, Start by Shrinking Buildings

New Mexico architect Edward Mazria proposes the 2030 Challenge. It calls for an immediate 50 percent reduction in fossil-fuel-based energy use in all U.S. buildings and complete elimination by 2030.

This target sounds very bold. What kind of state-of-the-art, cutting and innovative green building technologies or concepts are involved in the proposal?

First step: Make a house smaller!

Again (from my previous post), it has nothing to do with technologies, it's about changing the way of life. I really appreciate the fact that he chose downsizing as the first priority.

I am from the country where average house size would only be somewhere around 1000 sq feet. Here it is 2400 sq feet. I can't stop feeling sorry to see so much energy being wasted only to heat/cool the spaces that nobody is occupying. Smaller houses also reduce your ecological footprint overall, not just carbon footprint.

I know that living in larger house is everyone's dream.

But I don't want to achieve my dream by sacrificing our children's future. We won't be worse off by living in a bit smaller house (even though Japan's case is a bit extreme). Plus, it could be a solution for devastated housing market....smaller houses are definitely much much more affordable than large houses. A lot of people need affordable housing...and now.

Photo: an example of a house in Japan. Compare the size of the house with the car parked in the garage and you will see how small the house is. Also, most houses have multiple stories just to maximize the capacity on a limited land.



Fernando said...

Japanese small archirecture is fantastic. What is that house project? Is it built?

eco-samurai said...

Thank you for the question.
Above link does not have much information on architecture.

Try to Google with "狭小住宅" (kyosyo jutaku) -- it means super narrow/small housing.

This site has quite some information but unfortunately it's all in Japanese. However you will be able to see some pictures and visual concepts.