House sizes

We all seem to be concerned about energy use these days, which is good. One thing that has an impact on overall family energy use is the size of a home….the larger the home is the more energy of all types it takes to operate the home. Energy use includes heating fuels, but also maintenance energy…either by the homeowner or hired help.

I read some interesting statistics by the National Association of Home Builders in my local news update from the Builders Association of MInnesota:

* The median size of a new home in the USA is now about 2,300 square feet, or about twice as big as a new home in 1960.
* More than 50% of new homes built last year had 9′ or higher ceilings.
* Between 1970 and 2000, the percentage of households without children rose from 17% to 25%. During the same period households with children has declined from 40% to just 24%.
* Since 1970 median family income has gone from just over $44,000 to just over $66,000.

We are seeing evidence of these demographic changes in Northfield. There are many 2, 3 and 4 unit townhomes being constructed. As I go about town I discover these townhomes are being filled with lots of retired people and also lots of mid-career people without children. Northfield is a great place to retire or spend the later portion of a working career. From what I can tell, we seem to be mirroring the USA demographics. We have good, steady growth in all residential areas, but need to do better in creating jobs and business growth.