How much does your household weigh?

New Article:

“How much does your house weigh?” This was the question Buckminster Fuller used to ask when marketing his prefabricated, lightweight Dymaxion house in the 1920s. [1] The same question should be asked about today’s buildings — for environmental reasons, since each additional pound of material requires more energy and resources to manufacture, transport and assemble, not to mention to heat, cool, clean and maintain after construction. Designers and clients alike can be easily misled by sustainability ratings that ignore size or scale and focus on minor aspects of a building’s total environmental effect. How important is the efficiency of a furnace if the house is super-sized? Or if it requires a long car commute? Environmentalists in the ’70s used to joke that it was more efficient to live in an apartment in a dense city with the windows open all winter than to live in a solar house with an hour-long commute — a contention that would depend on the location of the city and the size of the car. The point is to get the scale right.