The Green Dollhouse: A step towards making sustainable homes the norm?Built Environment
This dollhouse could give green building a jump-start with the future generation, shaping their expectations for how a house should look. As I was Christmas shopping this year, I came across a toy that made me think. It was called The Green Dollhouse, and, in addition to the furniture, it comes complete with a wind turbine, solar panels on the roof, a rain barrel and recycling bins. Even the shape of the dollhouse is different from a typical dollhouse—and, for that matter, from a typical home. According to the product description, the dollhouse “features replicas of the alternative fuel sources and environmental controls that are used in real-world eco-homes. Children can learn as they play that by using energy, water and other resources efficiently, we can protect our environment.” Cool, right? My childhood dollhouse was quite different, and what you would likely expect—a small Victorian house with pink walls and little shingles on the roof. My dollhouse defined my idea of what a house should look like; as a result, modern, eco-friendly homes look strange to me. So maybe toys like this can change the next generation’s idea of “normal” and help make sustainability and energy efficiency more mainstream. From our research, we know that kids have a big influence on sustainable behavior in their households. Our 2012 Green Living Pulse study found that the strongest social influence on sustainable behavior was that of children/grandchildren (32%), and that 80% of adults who had discussed environmental issues with the children in their homes had adopted greener behaviors. While sustainable homes are not the current social norm, toys that teach children about efficient household water and energy use give me hope that someday they will be. What do you think? Would you buy a toy like this? Has a child taught you something about sustainability?