Sustainable Housing A Climate communication project by brandon sharp

According to Utah’s Governor Office of Economic Development, Utah has “the nation’s highest fertility and birth rates, highest life expectancy rate, and highest net in-migration rate”

Utah is currently building an astonishing number of new homes, many without hardly any serious thought towards sustainability. We are building on top of old farm land that could have been used to make the communities more self sufficient, but which we are simply building over to put giant new houses which are too distant from any necessities of life for it to be reasonable to walk to them. These are less sustainable than homes created through smart urban planning and efficient design.

Just about every suburban home has its own front and back yard lawn, largely made up of a grass, which takes significant maintenance with little benefit. If you use when you go outside, chances are that you do so relatively rarely, generally you spend less time enjoying the lawn than you do simply taking care of it. These facts make lawns a relatively good candidate for being a shared resource among many people rather than having one per every few people. This would cut on maintenance costs, including cost of water, and water usage in general, which becomes more and more of an issue the more people there are.

Longer distances require faster forms of travel in order to go to and from in reasonable amounts of time, and these forms of transportation are usually carbon intensive, e.g. cars. So what if all the necessities of life were located near enough for you to walk to them in reasonable amounts of time? Shorter distances to necessities allow for less energy intensive forms of travel, including cycling and walking.

Not only are cycling and walking less carbon intensive, they are also better for your body. Imagine you lived in a place where you didn’t need to worry so much about actively going to the gym just to maintain a minimal level of physical fitness, because you could be getting exercise simply from going about your day, getting wherever you needed to go.


Decisions about housing can greatly impact our lives, as they can determine where and how we live a significant portion of our lives. So these concerns affect anyone looking for a new place to live. Someone moving out of their parent's house for the first time, a family moving closer to a member's place of work, or any other reason someone may be highly motivated to move into a different house. This will likely include you someday, if it hasn't already, so these will directly affect you at some point in your life.

What is being done

There are a number of different design firms and companies that are focusing on good urban planning and efficient design. One such company is Living Zenith, whose focus is on net-zero housing and walkable communities in Salt Lake City.

ArchNexus is a company whose mission is to increase the value of the environment, while also preserving the natural environment. They focus on smart architecture, and have worked on such projects as Cornerstone at Cottonwood Corporate Center, the Payson LDS Temple, and Millcreek Community Center.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a third party building standard which buildings can be rated against and given one of four certifications: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum, Certified being the lowest, Platinum being the highest. Here in Utah, some big steps are being made to incorporate this standard. In Salt Lake City, all new buildings are required to be at least LEED Silver, in order to minimize emissions in an area with high air pollution, as well as decrease environmental impact and save money in the long run, all at once.

Works Cited

Architectural Nexus, Inc. (2017). Home. Retrieved April 22, 2017, from

Architectural Nexus, Inc. (2017). Purpose. Retrieved April 22, 2017, from

Living Zenith. (2016). Energy efficient passive homes offering energy resilience by Living Zenith: Utah Green Builder. Retrieved April 22, 2017, from

U.S. Green Building Council. (2017). Better Buildings are our Legacy. Retrieved April 22, 2017, from

Utah’s Governor Office of Economic Development. (n.d.). Population. Retrieved April 21, 2017, from

Created By
Brandon Sharp


Created with images by Jeremy Levine Design - "Red Box House" • Tim Pierce - "common house, exterior" • ShenkoCreations - "grass water lawn" • tejvanphotos - "Cycling" • skeeze - "runner race competition" • Pexels - "buildings city people"

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