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Does green mean small?

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A blog entry on BUILDER Online posed a provocative question: Can big homes be green? The answer, as with most things, is “it depends.”

As everyone knows, there’s been a shift away from McMansions. Not only can they cost more to build, but they’ll also be more expensive to heat and cool — not to mention the homeowners will need to buy more stuff to fill it up. And yet, would you consider a large LEED-certified house built with the greenest of materials less sustainable than a small house that was built in a less green, energy-efficient way?

How about context? If a family of 10 moves into our fictional large house and needs and uses all the space there, does that make it green? What if it’s just a family of four, and all those bedrooms and dens are sitting empty? Does that make the house less green?

Now, we’re certainly not saying that people shouldn’t be able to live in houses as large as they want. And no doubt, large homes can be a homebuilder’s dream. But what about building smaller, more livable homes using higher quality, more innovative materials?

When do you think a house’s size affects its green-ness? Let us know in the comments!

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