A brief look into new trends or points of discussion in the real estate industry.
With the growing popularity of oversized homes — 4,000 – 10,000 square feet — known as McMansions, several counties throughout the nation have begun demanding energy efficiency from builders. McMansions have been criticized for taking the character out of older neighborhoods with otherwise modestly-sized housing. Opponents claim these large scale homes appear out of place and to overwhelm their surroundings.
Concerns are growing regarding the environmental impact of McMansions, prompting local governments to take action. To avoid serious long-term environmental consequences, California’s own Marin County has imposed stringent energy standards upon builders. Newly constructed homes in the county are required to meet the energy standards set for a 3,500 square foot home, allowing builders to go only as big as efficiency will allow. Examples of these energy standards include solar glazing, the utilization of minimum R-values in insulation and the installation of a high efficiency water heater. Pitkin County, Colorado has taken energy efficiency requirements for builders in a different direction — builders must conform to a green building checklist before a building permit will be issued. A green building checklist may include the installation of high-efficiency lights and appliances, heating and cooling equipment, and minimal job-site waste. The larger the house, the more points on the checklist are required of a builder.
Since an average home in the United States, 2,400 square feet, emits 5.4 million pounds less carbon dioxide than the typical 10,000 square foot McMansion, it will be important to be aware of impending local government action on this issue.
“The swelling McMansion backlash.” Solomon, Christopher. 2006. MSN.