Houses people love to hate

According to the U.S. Census Bureau „The average new American home last year was 2,480 square feet, an increase of 88 square feet from 2010.“ These excessively large single-family homes are often referred to as „McMansions“ due to their relatively low cost and massive size.

By comparison, this is more than double the average home size in France and Denmark. The average size of a house in the United Kingdom was 818 square feet in 2009. Large homes consume large amounts of electricity, water, and other resources.

Americans tend to fill these large homes with numerous large things such as high capacity washing machines, clothes dryers, and kitchen appliances. Americans tend to keep the temperature of their home around 70 degrees Fahrenheit regardless of the temperature outside or amount of energy required to do so. Although some utility companies are encouraging Americans to use more efficient lighting, inefficient lighting and appliances remain the norm in most of the country.

American homes tend to be found on large plots of land, especially in affluent suburban areas. These lots are usually landscaped and planted with decorative plants and grasses that must be mowed, watered, and maintained. Mowing large lawns requires large tractors that, in turn, consume large amounts of gasoline. Watering lawns is a very inefficient process during hot summer months when much of the water evaporates before it has a chance to absorb into the soil.

Increasing home efficiency: In November 2010 the Obama Administration announced a program that provides funds to help Americans make their homes more energy efficient. The funds are used, for example, to insulate attics or put double panes on windows to trap heat in the winter and cold air in the summer months.”

Many local utility companies now send “efficiency packs” to new customers that include water-saving nozzles for faucets, energy efficient light bulbs, and suggestions on how to save energy during the warmest and coolest months.

The U.S. government also provides rebates for new commercial and residential wind and solar power projects. These initiatives have a dual function. They are aimed at bolstering the U.S. economy by creating jobs in the renewable energy sector. And they are also aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by increasing energy efficiency. America is striving to be more “green.”