Friday, February 25, 2011

EPA Proves that Where You Live Matters More then How You Live

Smart Growth advocates have long claimed that where you live matters more for energy consumption than what you live in.

Now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirms it in a new study published on

The paper finds that a home's location and access to transit -- in other words, its location efficiency -- are as important to reducing energy use as are energy-efficiency measures in homes and cars.
The study also confirms the importance of housing type- that the single family home is an energy hog compared to row housing or multi-family housing.(click on chart to enlarge)

This study illustrates two key points about the effect of compact, location efficient development on energy consumption:
1. A home's location relative to transportation choices has a large impact on energy consumption. People who live in a more compact, transit-accessible area have more housing and transportation choices compared to those who live in spread-out developments where few or no transportation options exist besides driving. Choosing to live in an area with transportation options not only reduces energy consumption, it also can result in significant savings on home energy and transportation costs.

2. Housing type is also a very significant determinant of energy consumption. Fairly substantial differences are seen in detached versus attached homes, but the most striking difference is the variation in energy use between single-family detached homes and multifamily homes, due to the inherent efficiencies from more compact size and shared walls among units. Moderate energy-efficient building technologies, such as those qualifying for Energy Star performance, also generate household energy savings that are notable but not as significant as the housing location and type.

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