As the Washington Post’s Wonkblog reports, while American homes keep getting bigger and we keep stocking them with growing numbers of energy hogging devices like big screen TVs, energy use per homeowner is actually shrinking. Overall, even though we have 30 million more homes than we did in 1980, and though these homes are bigger and have more gadgets in them, American homes use the same amount of energy as they did in 1980.It’s partly because we are cheap and do more to cut our energy bills. Newly built homes usually have better insulation, better windows, smarter technology and energy-saving appliances than older structures. But this is not the only reason homes use less energy — it’s not even the main reason, as Brad Plumer writes:
…in the past 20 years, more and more Americans are moving away from the chilly Northeast and to the Sunbelt in the West and Southeast. And, judging from this graph, made by Stuart Staniford using EIA data, that can have a huge impact on energy use. Houses in those booming Sunbelt regions use less energy.
Here’s that graph:It shows that air conditioning in warm regions uses far less energy than heating in cold regions.So if you want to help save the planet, move out of Vermont and get yourself to Alabama where people know how to live in harmony with Mother Gaia. Moving out of New England could be the purest form of environmental activism; your selfish, earth destroying choice of living in Massachusetts in killing us all. And as for Canada, Gaia’s message is clear: shut it down, now. The Germans for their part could help the planet by moving to Spain and Greece; this might also help with Europe’s financial woes.Perhaps the blue model politicians whose tax and spend policies are driving businesses and residents out of their states are smarter than they look. They could be green activists, steadily working to save the earth by driving people out of the northeast. We look forward to green activists introducing legislation in Congress to levy new taxes on those whose choice to live in cold states imposes costs on the more virtuous and eco-friendly inhabitants of Texas and South Carolina.It only seems fair.But if you live in cold climates like the northeast, as Via Meadia does, don’t despair: As the climate warms and winters get milder, your houses will start to use less energy too. The worse global warming gets, the better world citizen you become.