Modular homes yield for sustainability and affordability

| by Erik Braunitzer
Modular homes yield for sustainability and affordability

The last thirty years have seen an explosion in technological advancements. Luckily, the ability to access information almost instantly has also led to a greater awareness of our place on the planet and the importance of protecting and preserving the environment. Many people are interested in reducing their carbon footprint and like most grassroots movements, environmental sustainability begins at home. Even more particularly, modular homes have proven to be extremely beneficial.

Going Smaller

A house is the largest investment most of us will ever make and one that is meant to last a lifetime. In the past people often purchased as much house as they could afford and the size of one's home was seen as a status symbol. With the growing awareness of environmental responsibility that trend seems to be reversing. Modular homes not only take up less space, they are also more energy efficient and less expensive to heat, cool and light — using less natural resources in the process. Limiting interior spaces also means limiting the things needed to fill them, cutting back on purchases of consumer goods and furniture.

Buy or Build?

If you are interested in an environmentally friendly home, you may want to look into building one from scratch. Modular, prefabricated or kit homes are available that are manufactured with green materials and processes. These homes are usually small and relatively inexpensive and they come complete with many modern energy-saving innovations. Buying and upgrading an existing home is also a viable option. The environmental impact of renovating an existing home can be less than that of new construction.

Clean and Green

These smaller homes are easier to clean, and you can increase the environmental benefits by using green cleaning products and supplies. Several companies offer organic products including household cleaners and laundry detergents. Utilize common household products to save money and the planet. Vinegar and water with a drop of dishwashing detergent effectively cleans surfaces and glass. Baking soda mixed with a little lemon juice works as a scouring powder on bathtubs and sinks. Pick up a package of inexpensive cloth diapers and reuse them for regular cleaning to reduce your dependence on paper towels.

The Great Outdoors

The image of a perfect suburban home surrounded by a lush green lawn is another idea that is beginning to fade. And with the affordability of modular homes, it's more practical to invest in lawn and garden.

Lawns are thirsty and largely decorative. They also require treatment with harsh pesticides and herbicides to maintain. Many homeowners are re-purposing their lawns as organic vegetable gardens or replanting with hardy native plants that require little or no watering or care. If you must keep your lawn, consider using an electric mower or weed trimmer, or better yet, an old-fashioned people-powered push mower and get a great workout while cutting the grass. If you have a swimming pool, invest in a solar cover to heat the water naturally. Upgrade to a salt water filter to reduce or eliminate the use of harsh chemicals.

Greening your home will be an ongoing process as the coming years bring new and better innovations. Small, modular homes are the first step to an environmentally friendly future.

Erik Braunitzer is an author for New York City Real Estate agents, Douglas Elliman.

Topics: Going Green

Erik Braunitzer
Erik Braunitzer is a member of the creative writing and web strategy department for Douglas Elliman. With a background in philosophy and environmental literature, he's touched on topics varying from sustainability to green infrastructure. www

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