The Benefits of Environmentally Responsible Residential Housing
Beginning in the 1960s, our society has become increasingly aware of mankind’s negative impact on the earth. We have heard more about topics such as pollution, water contamination, Acid Rain, and Global Warming. All of these environmental concerns have displayed a need for more environmentally sensitive development. Environmentally responsible residential development is defined by Brewster as, "the production of building and communities that conserve resources and reduce waste through more efficient use of materials, energy, and water; that are more durable and useful; and that are designed for adaptive use or the recycling of their materials" (33). By definition alone, this type of development fits the description of sensitive development. I propose that we, as a society, must provide more incentives to encourage development such as environmentally responsible residential houses, because it will help reduce pollution, conserve limited and natural resources, and ensure a sustainable future.
The need for such housing must be established with consumers before more environmentally responsible houses are demanded in the market. One reason for this type of building, would be to properly address the problems of the energy crisis. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the energy crisis as, "a serious shortage of energy-producing fuels" (Simpson 5:241). Today, we are consuming our fossil fuels at ten million times the rate they are produced naturally (Griffin 4). At this rate, we will eventually deplete all of our fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gases. The energy crisis also addresses another reason to build environmentally responsible development, which is to help conserve dwindling natural resources. "Our current why of building is an outgrowth of the industrial age, when we assumed the earth offered an unlimited supply of cheap energy, unlimited natural resources, and an infinite capacity for disposing of waste in the land, the sea, and the air" (Brewster 31). George Brewster is development consultant and a member of the Environmentally Responsible Development Subcommittee. Therefore, his knowledge on the topic is qualified. In today’s society, we recognize that these assumptions are incorrect, but we have not adapted our building styles accordingly. The concern for air, land, and water pollution should also be considered when building homes.
The first reason why we should increase environmentally responsible residential development is because it reduces pollution. One type is air pollution, which is caused by emissions that are produced by the home and by the electric plants. "Traditional energy-inefficient home is responsible for 12.8 tons of air pollution per year" (Pijawka 97). An environmentally responsible home that is energy efficient would cut this figure dramatically by utilizing active and passive solar techniques. A home illustrating this was recently...