Are Mobile Homes the Environmentally Friendly Solution for Housing Millions of Retiring Baby Boomers?

Reader Contribution by Ruth Barton

Between 2011 and 2013, roughly 10,000 baby boomers retired, and by 2030, it is estimated that there will be around 72.1 million older people, making up 19% of the population. With the US population aging, the problems with housing the millions of retiring baby boomers continues to increase, not to mention in an environmentally friendly way.

According to figures, 6.4% of the US housing sector is made up of mobile homes, with an average 20 million Americans living in them. South Caroline has the highest number of mobile homes, making up roughly 18% of homes within the state. Furthermore, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute, about 23% of the heads of mobile home households are retired. While these figures may already seem high, in reality, the figures could be much higher and it has raised the question whether more mobile homes could be the solution to house the thousands of retiring baby boomers within the US. After all, there is still plenty of space throughout the US to build more mobile home and more importantly, mobile housing is one of the most environmentally friendly types of housing.

The US produces an estimated 30% of the world’s waste, therefore efforts need to be increased to reduce carbon emissions and become more environmentally friendly. Mobile housing is an excellent way to help reduce the U.S environmental impact because the new generations of mobile homes and park homes are much more energy efficient. Research carried out by the U.S Department of Energy discovered that this type of manufactured housing can save 55% of energy when compared to a house without energy efficient materials and appliances.

Mobile homes are built to reduce the potential environmental impact of people’s activities and to avoid any damage to the environment. For instance, Omar Homes offer park homes and mobile homes for sale that are built with already installed air to water heat pumps, solar photovoltaic panels and ground source heat pumps.

However, while mobile homes might be an environmentally friendly solution for housing millions of retiring baby boomers, mobile homes have a huge image problem in the US, where many associate mobile homes with working class and underprivileged people giving them the name “trailer trash”. When actually this is certainly no longer the case in many circumstances. Mobile homes no longer look like ‘trailers’ – they are spacious with fully equipped living and kitchen area, often with 2-3 bedrooms, whilst still being affordable. In addition, mobile homes are located in pleasant, safe areas, with a sense of community which is ideal for retirees.

If more of these types of mobile home communities were available for the older generation, the negative connotation that citizens associate with mobile homes will decrease, but more importantly will help to resolve the problem of housing the millions of retirees as the US population continues to age.

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