Report: Location Efficiency and Housing Type

Making choices about energy.

When it comes to energy efficiency, where you live – and what you live in – matters. It makes sense that household energy consumption levels change depending on housing design and proximity to public transit. But how much difference can your dwelling type and location make? 

To find out, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Growth program launched a study, “Boiling it Down to BTUs”. Conducted by Jonathan Rose Companies, the study states:

“Housing located in a walkable neighbourhood near public transit, employment centres, schools and other amenities allows residents to drive less…Development in such locations is deemed to be “location efficient”.

It turns out that living in a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) can reduce your energy consumption by 38% compared to those living in a similar sized home in a Conventional Suburban Development (CSD). 

Here are more of those findings, by the numbers.

  • 21% of total CO2 emissions in the United States come from the residential sector (2008).
  • Homes in high density areas produce 50% less CO2 than those in low density areas.  
  • An average multifamily unit used 50% less energy of an average single family home.
  • Households close to a transit line produce 1/4 the emissions of households without close access to transit.
  • A combination of land use strategies and improved travel options, such as building “complete streets”, could improve greenhouse gas emissions by 9 to 15% by 2050.

So, what can a city like Calgary do with these findings? Local industry and governments are working together to plan for diverse dwelling types in “Complete Communities” to encourage sustainability and affordability for homeowners.

Read more about sustainable development, from gentle density to the city’s first net zero energy home, to detailing The City of Calgary’s Climate Resilience Program

November 1st, 2018
Updated: April 22nd, 2019

Location efficiency means huge energy savings.