With US homes on average twice as large as they were 50 years ago—and, of course, dwarfing those in all other developed countries—rethinking our idea of "home" is as crucial to cutting global warming as switching to a smaller car, says architect Edward Mazria in Fast Company. Half of all greenhouse gas emissions are building-related; residential buildings make up 21% of national energy consumption—almost as much as transportation.
Mazria sees the need for change as a huge opportunity as well as a necessity: a $21.6-billion one-year investment in building efficiency would create 216,000 jobs, cut CO2 emissions by 86.7 million metric tons annually and save consumers $8.5 billion, he estimates. “We will not only solve global warming, we will set up the US for unprecedented economic success,” Mazria says. (Read more architecture stories.)