Packed Like Sardines — Density is Good
WorldChanging has a good post about this New Urban News article. It is about the energy savings that come from urban density. Quite interesting. For example, even homes with maximum Energy Star savings get beaten by the relatively sparse density of 12 housing units per acre, and at 48 units per acre ("a moderate apartment or condominium complex") the energy savings are double those of the maximum Energy Star savings. The biggest jumps in efficiency are from 6 units per acre to 12, and then to 18. After that, things slow down a bit but the benefits of urban density are still very real and worth taking into consideration.
Some of the findings from the article:
-An average urban household uses 320 million British thermal units (mBTUs) annually, while an average suburban household uses 440 mBTUs (assuming 2.5 people/family). The difference is mostly in transportation and infrastructure.
-Access to transit yields significant energy savings, but not as large as increased density.
-The economic savings from enhanced location efficiency from 10 years of new construction are about $2.3 trillion, mostly from reduced auto ownership, according to a study by Holtzclaw with David Goldstein and Mary Jean Burer of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
-Despite the benefits of location efficiency, it is less recognized than automotive, building, appliance, or power plant efficiency as a way to reduce greenhouse gases and use of fossil fuels.
*No actual sardines were harmed in the making of this post. I'm a vegetarian anyway.