I always wondered why developers always felt the need to have a fresh slate when it comes to their lots. They cut down every tree in an entire subdivision, flatten the lots, deleting any type of landscape. Urban sprawl is an expression that is full of negative connotations, yet that is exactly what we, as consumers, are asking for. We want large, single family houses, with a gas station within walking distance (or in reality within FAST driving distance). Our society seems to be begging for convenience, at any expense.
When we move into our first home, we want it either brand new or move-in-ready, and we'll pay for it. People can spend an extra 10 grand because they prefer the house without the bubble gum pink walls and green bathtubs. People tend to overlook the potential in the renovation projects, but they are often the answer for smart growth. There are many different benefits to thinking green when it comes to urban sprawl issues.
Consider building on an existing lot- Generally, these lots are in mature neighbourhoods, which means beautiful trees, existing commodities, character, etc. With existing grocery stores, parks and schools already only minutes away, it reduces the amount of driving that would come with a new area of town. With the amount of homes in this world that are condemned (or should be) there is less need to clear another lot in a new neighbourhood. (See the picture above)
Consider a renovation project- Instead of building a new home, renovate! While some people aren't very excited about that thought, sometimes, making your house fresh and beautiful again isn't as scary one would think. Simple renovations like replacing fixtures, like faucets, lighting, doorknobs are easy and cheap. And I always say, paint is one of the cheapest renovations. It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint does for the atmosphere of a home.
For larger undertakings, such as installing new high performance windows, or removing batt insulation and insulating with spray foam, or replacing appliances with Engergy Star appliances, the initial renovation costs are absorbed in the savings when it comes to the hydro bill.
Consider putting in a basement suite in your house and think about the rewards- Having the extra rent money, reducing the need for yet another single family home, having a use for the space that would otherwise be storage, etc.
There are so many ways to go green! A tiny sacrifice can take this world farther than we can imagine. What will you do today?
Ants on a Blog
By Jena Keenan