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Walkable and transit-oriented areas are far more energy efficient than sprawl suburbs

Marc Lefkowitz  |  04/14/11 @ 10:58am

Living closer to the urban core is much greener compared to living in a sprawl suburb, even if a more fuel efficient car is parked in the garage, a new EPA report found.

Comparing national averages, a conventional home in a walkable, transit-oriented community uses far less energy than a home in the outer burbs-even one that was built to EnergyStar standards and with a fuel efficient car. Too few transportation options exist in these far flung places, so households usually have no choice but to own two or more cars.

"The energy savings realized through location efficiency (walkable access to public transit and work, school and retail centers) are greater than those achieved through home efficiency," the report states.

That said, a suburban house built to EnergyStar (20% more energy efficient than standard) and a car that gets 37 mpg could expect 34-38% potential energy savings.

Environmental Building News reports on the study here.

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