Monday, July 23, 2007

Suburbia and energy consumption!

Again my favorite site (theoildrum) with my favorite poster describing what needs to be done in Dayton Ohio TODAY!  As well as why suburbia is unsustainable.  It is unfortunate that Dayton is run by medical doctors, poor CEO's and Realtors. Alan Drake talks about Dayton's electric trolley line at least once a month.

The Oil Drum | DrumBeat: July 23, 2007
Some fraction of a reformed suburbia will likely survive with more than a "half our act together" effort. Much will not regardless.

One reason is the energy to support suburbia. More streetlights/capita (we could run quite a bit of rail off that possible conservation source, turning off the street lights in suburbia), plumbers, mail delivery, police, UPS delivery, etc. all require significantly more energy, i.e. oil, to service standard American suburbia than urban areas or new TOD (Transit Orientated Development). And much more pavement/person (and feet of water & sewer lines) to maintain in Suburbia.

In addition, suburban housing is generally quite poorly built and energy in-efficient (last Christmas in Phoenix a Real Estate article in local paper claimed market was STILL interested in "luxury extras" and no interest in higher energy effiency).

Suburbia was built on a herd mentality. People went to the hot areas outside town and bought the "in" floor plan, with minimal independent thought. (Remember avocado colored appliances ?) Once the herd starts leaving, in can turn into a stampede. Who will spend money on major repairs on an "investment" that is declining in value ? Especially if the neighbors aren't ?

Good public transportation cannot be cost effective in very low density areas.

IMVHO, Suburbia will decline because of

1) Direct energy costs (commuting, transportation to get essentials, HVAC)
2) Indirect energy costs (support infrastructure)
3) Needed repairs escalating in costs as market value declines
4) Herd mentality as empty homes appear and deteriorate over time nearby

Best Hopes for Urban Rail & TOD,


Powered by ScribeFire.

No comments: