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May 22, 2018  |  Login

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Living in a smaller home or apartment with shared resources reduces your energy use and environmental impact.

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The typical size of American homes and apartments has increased dramatically in recent times.  The average American house now has 4 times more space per person than in the 1950s, even though the size of the average American family has decreased. 
A common theme of environmental living, however, is downsizing—minimizing your environmental impact by reducing the amount of space you use.  When it comes to where you live, environmental damage increases proportionally with square footage.  Just as a compact car is far more efficient than an SUV, a small home is less environmentally costly than a mansion. 
The environmental benefits are straightforward.  Smaller houses mean less land occupied, fewer trees cut down, fewer materials used to build it, less fuel and electricity needed to heat and power it, etc.  Even a small house built and designed without regard eco-friendly techniques and features has been found to be less of an environmental burden than a large house that has been built to green standards.  From a practical standpoint, small homes require less cost and effort to maintain.  Not to mention less cleaning and fewer chores! 
If you are considering a move, be realistic with yourself about how much space you really need.  Not only will you save money and hassle, you will simplify your life and improve the health of the planet.


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  • Read about some inventive tips to make the most of your smaller living quarters from .


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1.Cox, Stan. [08 September 2007] “Big Houses are Not Green: America’s McMansion Problem.” AlterNet. Available from: [26 August 2008]

2.Fitz, Don. [5 July 2007] “The Twisted Logic of Eco-Sprawl.” Available from: [26 August 2008] “Smaller Homes for Sustainable Living.” Available from: [26 August 2008]
4.Wilson, Alex and Jessica Boehland. [2005] “Small is Beautiful.” Journal of Industrial Ecology. Available from: [26 August 2008]

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