The average American household is using less energy, but in general those households are still very unsustainable. According to a study by Vox, just 37% of American households are electrified, meaning the rest still rely on fossil fuels for heating and related tasks. For all states except those in the bible belts, fossil fuel continues to dominate. However, this doesn’t mean your home can’t be sustainable; depending on the local climate, there are clear steps you can take to make a positive environmental impact and make the planet better for your children – even if it isn’t in energy terms.
The simple: solar energy
For those living in sun drenched states, the easiest solution is often right in front of your eyes. Solar energy is a massive force for change, and with improving battery technology, it will continue to provide energy solutions and potentially extra earnings for the homeowner. What about if you’re looking for a new property, either with a deposit in hand as a first time buyer or through equity release as a senior? There are ways to make further impacts. Many New Mexicans will be familiar with the earthships, reported by CNN in 2015 as a next-generation sustainable build. Nevada is likely to see a spree of sustainable house building after Elon Musk called for new housing. While you may already be making an impact, look to your future plans and see if your next steps can benefit the planet, too.
Harnessing the rain
Solar panel is off the menu in many northern states, and given the frosty climates, heating is often non-negotiable. Many homeowners will already be au fait with the measures they can take to improve their energy efficiency, and so looking outside the box will bring inspiration. Even if complete energy efficiency isn’t possible, water retention may well be. Water scarcity is likely to become the next big resource challenge facing the planet, and in the USA there are already rural communities starved of drinking water. There is considerable scope for innovation here; Futurism recently reported on new fibers that, if applied to the outside of houses, will allow the collection of all moisture without any change in appearance.
For the great plains
Large swathes of the USA do not benefit from either high rainfall or particularly exceptional temperatures. Largely in the shade of the mountains, this creates an environment particularly dependent on external resources – and especially as global warming increases. What sustainability measures can a home in these areas take to become more sustainable? Power is largely derived from wind, but what homes can do here to improve their own impact is look to protect wildlife. Environmentalist ranchers have already started protecting bird species – their cattle help to balance ecosystems through measured grazing. For the homeowner, that means creating environments conducive to the progression of the ecosystem.
Sustainability is a primary requirement for any forward-thinking home. While energy can be tackled in many parts of the country to influence a sustainable home, elsewhere it requires a bit more in-depth thinking. Where you can’t tackle energy usage, look to water and wildlife instead.