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September 8, 2007

Today's Housing Bubble Post - Big Houses Cost More To Heat And Cool, Bad For Environment

-- by Dave Johnson

Here is one more problem from the housing bubble - all those big houses they built cost much more to heat and cool than regular houses. As utility costs rise this will compound the monthly-payment problem. Then, on top of that there's the maintenance costs like eventually re-roofing them, watering the lawns, etc.

And then there is the terrible environmental impact. Very few were built withing walking distance of stores and public transportation so cars are required. How many of the world's trees were cut down to build them?

And, if the public somehow manages to regain their senses, these house monstrosities - like the huge, pre-oil-embargo land-barge cars of the 1970s - will become even harder to sell.

AlterNet: Environment: Big Houses Are Not Green: America's McMansion Problem,

The just-popped housing bubble has left behind a couple of million families in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. It has also spawned a new generation of big, deluxe, under-occupied houses bulked up on low-interest steroids.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates that 42 percent of newly built houses now have more than 2,400 square feet of floorspace, compared with only 10 percent in 1970. In 1970 there were so few three-bathroom houses that they didn't even to show up in NAHB statistics. By 2005, one out of every four new houses had at least three bathrooms.

...the manufacture and transportation of concrete to build a typical 2,500-square-foot house generates the equivalent of 36 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

... To make outsized suburban manors more interesting, builders tend to avoid boxy forms, loading up their product with multiple rooflines and gables, dormers, bay windows, and other protuberances. Such houses have more surface area than does a squared-off house of the same size, thus requiring more fossil-fuel to cool and heat them. Additional energy is wasted by the longer heating/cooling ducts and hot-water pipes in a big house.

... Square-footage fever emerges in a doubly wasteful form in cities where normal-sized, sound, comfortable houses are being demolished to make way for bigger, more luxurious ones.

The whole article is worth reading.

Posted by Dave Johnson at September 8, 2007 1:11 PM

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Jusr like the old Victorians, these will slide in value, be remodeled, and become multi-family housing.

Posted by: Thomas Leavitt [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 8, 2007 1:55 PM

Yesterday's McMansions are today's Victorian treasures? Interesting. . .

You just convinced me I really need to go buy a McMansion. Thanks!

To Dave's point: carbon tax. No need to judge people who have different taste than you do, just make them pay proportionally for the damage they do to the environment. Making people pay will reduce the damage they choose to do.

Posted by: jaymuntz [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 8, 2007 4:32 PM

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