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Green Building Blog

Pro/Con: Can a Large House be Green?

There can be pretty strong feelings on both sides of the size issue and with good reason.

Image Credit: iStock

Bigger houses use much more materials to build, contain more cubic space to heat and cool, and represent an indulgance that many see as opposed to what green building is all about. But what if the house is a net energy producer, recaptures rain and gray water, and provides home office space for the occupants?

Size Doesn’t Matter

by Kim Calomino

Not to state the obvious, but the housing market is just that — a market. Homes come in countless varieties designed to meet the needs and wants of the countless types of buyers. If builders hope to sell houses, they must meet buyers’ demands. Read more…

Size Matters

by Michael Horowitz

Home buyers expect green scoring systems to provide guidance when choosing between green-labeled homes. These expectations are largely unfounded, however, since almost every rating system ignores or inadequately considers a major determinant of a home’s environmental impact — its size. Read more…


  1. Rutland | | #1

    Greening of Earth
    When talking about green building and green architecture, it is more beneficial to be inclusive than exclusive to have the most realistic effect in the greening of the earth endeavors. Large residences and commercial buildings are still going to be built and should be encouraged, rewarded and complimented on any green measures they incorporate into their designs. Cooperation is always proven more beneficial than opposition. Providing enabling technology and encouragement is much more conducive to effecting change than harsh criticism and exclusion. So in a nutshell, yes, a large house can be partly or mostly green and we're moving in the right direction to acknowledge and encourage that.

  2. jbmoyer | | #2

    Reality Check
    Why do we have to label larger homes green? Are we hurting the feelings of builders by not allowing their homes to be apart of the "green" club? I mean, lets be honest, these 9,000 square foot homes that have been certified under the various green building programs are NOT green. Sure they may be relatively more energy efficient... they may be built to higher quality standards.... but they sure as heck aint green. Lets call them what they are. How bout coming up with a rating system for quality built, energy efficient homes... oh i know... how 'bout ENERGY STAR? "But wait a second," you say, "my McMansion has really good indoor air quality, and durability measures!!"
    Well Mr Builder, I've got the perfect rating system for you... the EPA's Indoor airPLUS program.

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