Honestly, I don’t think so. I do believe that sustainable building practices are going to become much more widespread in the future, perhaps someday even mandated by law in many places, but I don’t think that will involve any great re-working of the way we live or what our houses generally are like. My experience in talking to people who have been involved with green building and sustainable practices is that it’s surprisingly easy to adapt to them. Take for example energy-efficient windows, which is a main part of green building (and an element of LEED certification). Are you really going to notice much of a difference in your daily life if you have energy efficient windows as opposed to traditional ones? Probably not, but you probably will notice a difference in your power bill–potentially a big one. A friend of mine was telling me just this morning about a green building on a college campus which recycles “graywater” (basically, rain runoff) into the toilets in the building. I seriously doubt that such a system would have a single effect that would impact your lifestyle or how your bathroom is laid out, but again, the magic of sustainability is that it often works behind the scenes. So will we continue to build our houses the way we like, with bedrooms, basements, play rooms for the kids, living rooms, kitchens, decks, all that stuff we’re used to? Sure. None of that is at all incompatible with green building practices. Sustainability will change the way we think about our homes, but I don’t think our homes themselves are going to be substantially different, especially as architects and designers come up with more creative ways to design interesting buildings that are also earth-friendly.
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