The Issue of Location: How Much Gas and Time Can You Save?
What is the secret to low impact living? Location. In fact, most property experts will tell you that the three most important factors for determining the desirability of a property are as follows: location, location, and location – hence the popular turn of phrase. Sustainability-minded homebuyers can add a fourth “location” to that phrase. The reasons are quite simple really. The closer your home, or place of residence, is to entertainment, convenient shopping, services, public forums, and other people in general, the more your home is worth. City dwellers pay a premium for convenience, access, and especially time.
More importantly, proximity to services means freedom from the need for greenhouse gas-spewing automobiles. The average American commuter spends 38 cumulative hours a year sitting behind the wheel not moving forward. Those in big cities spend in excess of 50 hours a year stuck in suspended motion. These numbers of course don’t even begin to quantify the additional hours working Americans spend simply getting from point A to point B let alone vehicle maintenance, fuel costs, and lost productivity. In fact, traffic jams alone cost the nation $121 billion dollars, which includes a loss of 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline burned by idling engines. Vast sums of money are wasted every morning – literally going up in smoke and exhaust out of tailpipes. Vast amounts of carbon dioxides, and other debris, are emitted as well – clouding the skies and warming the atmosphere.
And herein lies the heart of the reason green condos, located in or near denser urban communities and built with sustainability in mind, are the epitome of responsible living for those who don’t need the sprawling space afforded by far-flung suburbs. Buildings are major contributors to the global carbon balance (or imbalance), accounting for nearly 40 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions. Green condos and other urban housing solutions often boast greatly reduced power consumption and waste, employ renewable building materials and techniques, and promote convenience and economies of scale. But just as importantly, green condos located in or near cities promote a lifestyle less dependent on the gasoline-driven automobile. Transportation accounts for approximately 28 percent of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions. With the energy consumed for transportation included, a household dwelling in an energy-efficient condo consumes a quarter of what a typical single-family suburban household would consume in the same time period. This adds up to quite an economic windfall overtime. Americans already spend $2,000 dollars per year on gasoline, and another $2,000 per year on electricity on average. Suburbanites likely spend significantly more on both.
The Issue of Space: How Much Do You Really Need?
The answer to this pressing question is: not as much as we may think. The average American home has ballooned in size from below a thousand square feet to nearly 2,500 square feet. At the same time, families have shrunk by approximately one person. So what’s the deal? What’s driving our urgent lust for ever more square footage? Rather than breaking the bank for a three-car garage that will essentially be used as a storage shed, why not buy smaller, better, more energy-efficient, and in a prime location? When it comes down to it, bigger is not always better. Bigger homes come with appropriately large energy bills, maintenance costs, and many times, a ridiculous morning commute. As more and more Americans flock to the cities, it’s worth taking some time to consider the positive impacts green condos can have on overall lifestyles, costs, and the environment.
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