3 Key Elements of a Sustainable House
More and more people choose to live in sustainable houses. But what makes them sustainable? According to Cambridge Dictionary, sustainability is, “the quality of causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time.”
To understand sustainability, look at what isn’t sustainable. For example, corporations cut down and kill rainforests all over the world for palm oil, paper, timber, and more. But humans and animals alike depend on these rainforests to maintain the environment. The earth warms up, the climate changes, and soon our planet might become uninhabitable.
Living in a sustainable house causes little damage to the Earth and might soon be the only way forward. Keep reading to learn 3 key elements that make a sustainable house!
1 | Self SufficiencyThe most sustainable houses provide everything needed for the inhabitant to live, allowing them to be self-sufficient. A sustainable house uses everything to its full potential!
In a sustainable house, the occupant relies on renewable energy sources such as wind turbines or solar panels for electricity. They grow their own food which reduces their carbon footprint. A sustainable house often collects, filters, and reuses water, or even features a composting toilet that turns excrements into fertilizer for the land!
2 | MinimalismMinimalism, the next key element, also makes a sustainable house. The media constantly tells us that we need to own everything from the newest iPhone to the trendiest clothing. This consumer mindset fuels climate change and is unsustainable.
However, minimalism puts people off because it evokes images of owning a single bowl, a single spoon, and a single cushion. But living sustainably doesn’t mean you should throw away everything you own and go live in the mountains. In reality, a person achieves minimalism more through their mindset than anything else.
Ask the question, what do I actually need to live a happy life? Minimalists abstain from purchasing items they don’t need. Instead, they give the fullest life and purpose to each of their belongings. Therefore practicing minimalism naturally leads to a more sustainable lifestyle, and sustainable houses often feature minimalism.
3 | Zero WasteThe last key element of a sustainable house is being zero waste! According to EPA, the average American produced 4.9 pounds of waste every day in 2018. These numbers grow higher and higher each year and landfills expand every day damaging the oceans and their wildlife. Therefore, zero waste living strives to turn that 4.9 into a 0. A person achieves a zero waste lifestyle largely through mindful purchases, avoiding single-use plastic and excessive or unrecyclable packaging. Zero Waste living and minimalism often go hand-in-hand. Some examples of zero waste living include purchasing groceries from a zero-waste store where you bring your own containers and produce bags, using reusable cups and straws, composting food scraps, and only buying products with recyclable or plastic-free packaging. A sustainable house practices zero-waste living or as close to zero-waste as possible.
Privilege & Your Sustainable House
Truthfully, our society makes it difficult to live sustainably. Having a sustainable house takes time and money that isn’t afforded to many people. In reality, you may not have the time to grow food for your entire family or the finances to build a self-sufficient house. That does not make you a bad person. Every step taken towards sustainability should be celebrated. Until we live in a society that truly upholds the Earth, we can only do what we can do!