Location Key to Home Energy Efficiency

How and where we construct our communities has an enormous effect on our energy consumption. Buildings and transportation together account for about 70 percent of energy use in the United States and are responsible for about 62 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Creating more energy-efficient communities and buildings would reduce our impact on climate change and save people money on household energy costs. It could also help the U.S. to become less reliant on foreign fuel and other non-renewable sources of household energy1.

People can do many things to reduce their energy use: install energy-efficient light bulbs, carpool or walk, or buy Energy Star appliances, among other things. But the way in which we plan and build our communities also has a significant role to play in creating a more environmentally and economically sustainable future. By understanding the relative share that housing type, location, and “green” (in this case, energy- or fuel-efficient) technology have in energy consumption, communities can begin to align their policies and public investments to support a more sustainable path forward.

EPA has provided support to Jonathan Rose Companies to analyze the energy use associated with a range of development approaches. The study, Location Efficiency and Housing Type – Boiling it Down to BTUs (PDF) (17 pp, 95K, About PDF), contrasts energy use in conventional, automobile-dependent locations with more location-efficient2, transit-oriented locations; multifamily housing construction with single-family detached and attached houses; and conventional cars and homes with their energy-efficient counterparts (e.g., Energy Star homes and hybrid cars). The paper finds that housing type and location, along with energy-use features of homes and vehicles, all have an important role to play in achieving greater energy efficiency.


Read the full story on the EPA’s website.