The typical green home featured on GBA is a single-family home in a suburb or rural area. This type of development — often called “sprawl” — is decried by environmentalists and urban planners, who instead sing the praises of multifamily buildings in dense urban neighborhoods.
If you are a greenie who now lives in a suburb or rural area, where is the best place to move to? In this essay, I’ll examine several options.
Option 1: Stay put
You may decide to stay where you are, accepting the contradictions of life. All of us fall short of the ideal promoted by environmental purists, so it’s sometimes OK to accept our imperfections.
Even if you live in a single-family suburban home, you can still focus on lowering your energy use, including the amount of fuel used for transportation.
Option 2: You could move downtown
From an environmental perspective, the greenest place to live is in an urban area. If you can afford the rent, choose a small apartment in a multifamily residential building in a high-density neighborhood.
One of the main advantages of living in a city is that you can take advantage of public transit systems — subways or busses — or you can get around easily on a bicycle.
Option 3: Move to a “green” development
Many suburban developments claim to espouse green principles. Whether this represents a significant improvement over conventional suburban development or just amounts to greenwashing depends on your point of view and the specifics of the development.
An example of the type of development I’m talking about is the Serenbe development in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia. Of course, there is no guarantee that homes in this type of development are affordable; recent home listings at Serenbe range from $359,000 to $849,000.
Even if a suburban development calls itself “green,” residents may still…
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