Recent science news recounts that, as global populations continually rise, more people are living in urban communities. Denser communities potentially will use less energy. By the way, sustainable buildings do more than protect the planet. Homes that reduce the amount of energy use through solar, wind, or waste-water products also impact the health of the owners. Civic organizers are progressing toward the implementation of eco-districts, in-fill development, or urban retrofitting as discussed, at a recent TED event, by Alex Steffen. Sustainable cities reflect a need to address past mistakes amid social, environmental, and governance of home ownership.
Access to Healthy Options
Traditionally, homes were built in a one-way transfer of energy from natural resources in our environment, to homes. Resources came out of the earth, took energy without significant recovery of that resource, or reciprocity of energy back to the ecology of that location. The danger of this consumption pattern is apparent in climate changes. The construction of housing that reciprocates energy use, and reduces use of fossil fuels during the building process is progressively more mainstream. This global perspective of the building cycles; from resource management through technological mechanisms, provides future generations with access to safe food and water. Use of metabolic materials for architectural design reduces water usage, and energy waste. Creative action is just beginning to foster innovation in real estate markets.
Energy savings and safety improvements are two main reasons to consider shipping container homes. Clever and urban, these prefab homes require less in the construction phase, and offer protection from the elements in hurricanes, earthquakes, or fires. Recycling these containers prevents them from becoming landfill. Urban architects face some barriers in changing suburban covenants. A neighborhood homeowner’s association that threatens punitive action because of a perceived loss of curb appeal will suffer extreme losses, as real estate buyers become educated about LEED standards. Although, the morphing of neighborhoods into abandoned wastelands, during the last recession, could benefit by the artist’s muse. This ‘not in my backyard’ attitude is a current adversary to shipping container design architects. Alternatively, rural settings within the city have been introduced the Urban Homesteader. Composts, organic gardens, and backyard barnyards bring rural land use under local city governance.
As you consider your next home, look at neighborhood options that reduce reliance on your personal vehicle. Cycling paths, local gardens, and access to parks is a new, but major home buyer consideration. Technology like Map My Run, or Walkshed can specifically answer your questions about lifestyle options for the neighborhood.
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