Expert: Limit living space to shrink building carbon footprint

(EurActiv, 3 May 2021) Energy efficient building renovation is not enough to lessen the climate impact of residential buildings, according to one sustainability expert who is calling for a limit on the living space allocated per person in residential homes. EURACTIV France reports.

Individuals should be allocated living space of between 14-20 square metres for a single person and 40-80 square metres for a four-person household, according to Pia Mamut, a research fellow at the Chair of International Relations and Sustainable Development at Germany’s Münster University.

While such an idea may seem extreme, “the contextual, social, economic and cultural conditions are already being explored in both science and policy,” Mamut told a webinar organised by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) on Wednesday (29 April).

Speaking at the event, Mamut proposed several solutions for low-carbon housing, including limiting the number of square metres per person. She warned however that such limits to housing size “cannot simply be imposed but require a democratic process and agreement”.

The webinar follows the publication of an EEB report titled: “An action plan to deliver a healthy, affordable and sustainable built environment for all”.

In its report, the EEB advocates the idea that, in order to reduce carbon emissions from the building sector, the focus should only lie on energy renovation but also on our planet’s natural resources in order to create a more sustainable and ecological habitat.

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EurActiv, 3 May 2021: Expert: Limit living space to shrink building carbon footprint