Green housing and its ideas sound like something that just happened a few years ago, but the history of the sustainable housing movement is more substantial than that. The idea of capturing the sun to use for heat and energy has been around for centuries, and the other elements of sustainable housing have also been around for a long time. But it wasn’t until the government and construction companies started to take sustainable housing seriously that real progress was made toward improving construction standards.
Thank the Oil Crisis of the 1970s
In the 1970s, the oil crisis raised prices on everything from gas for people’s cars to the oil to heat their homes. It did not take long for the government, consumers, and contractors to come together to try to create building standards that relied less on fossil fuels and more on natural elements. This was when solar panels started to become popular and when the idea of recycling first gained a foothold in the public eye.
When the Environment Started to Matter
When consumers started paying more at the pumps, they were suddenly open to discussing environmental matters that could save them money. Environmental activists were able to turn frustrations about oil prices into discussions about landfills, water shortages, and other important environmental issues. In the 1970s, all of these topics came together to start the sustainable housing movement.
The Standards Were Finally Set
In 2005, the federal government passed the Energy Policy Act that became the foundation for many of the sustainable housing standards that we have today. New building codes were recommended, and there was a score card system introduced to grade every government agency on how well it adhered to environmentally friendly standards. All of this enthusiasm for the environment has resulted in the adoption of new green building standards that can help homeowners to save money and own a sustainable home.
The Fight to Make Sustainable Housing Mainstream
In recent years, groups such as ours have formed to educate contractors, Realtors, and homeowners on the benefits of green construction. When President Barack Obama made renewable energy a cornerstone of his 2012 campaign for re-election, he helped to give momentum to groups like ours by pointing out the importance of sustainable living and the dangers of relying on limited resources. Through education and working directly with government agencies, contractors, and Realtors, we hope to make green construction methods a priority in every community around the country.